Drones and roses

"Drone" is not a word I would associate with the remote controlled helicopter that the Seattle Police Department displayed Thursday night at the Garfield Community Center.

If the device launches vertically into the air, never leaves the visual site of its operator, and can't fly for more than 10 minutes (the limit of the battery charge), I doubt it can pack and deliver weapons grade explosives.

DroneAt the meeting, a citizen asked if it would be legal for him to fly his own drone over his own property, for the purpose of monitoring police behavior.

An officer responded, yes, you may, as long as it doesn't fly over 400 feet.

I was late to the meeting, but in the 30 to 40 minutes I was there, I heard no city council member or other policymaker stepping into the breach between citizen agitators (most of whom were rude) pressing to discuss policymaking, and the (polite) police officers, who wanted merely to explain how they meant to use the drone under FAA rules and other instructions they'd been given.

"What's in a name," Juliet famously asked. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Juliet hadn't considered the example of the word "drone." I'll bet that name impacts how policy is shaped over police use of remote controlled, low altitude cameras.

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