Well the cat is out the bag, the US Police can call in Grand Forks Predators if they need help. The Daily Mail from the UK reports
Meet the Brossarts, a North Dakota family deemed so dangerous that the local sheriff needed unleashed an unmanned Predator drone to help bring them in.
The Brossart’s alleged crime? They wouldn’t give back three cows and their calves that wandered onto their 3,000-acre farm this summer.
The Brossarts are the first known subjects of the high-flying new surveillance technology that the federal government has made available to some local sheriffs and police chiefs – all without Congressional approval or search warrants.
Local authorities say the Brossarts are known for being armed, anti-government separatists whose sprawling farm is used as a compound. Rodney Brossart, 55, and his wife Susan live in a house and a trailer and two RVs with seven of their eight adult children.
When the cattle wandered onto the Brossarts’ land, Sheriff Kelly Janke, who patrols a county of just 3,000 people, rounded up some sheriff’s deputies and arrested Mr Brossart for failing to report the stray livestock
The same aerial vehicles used by the CIA to track down and assassinate terrorists and militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan are now being deployed by cops to spy on Americans in their own backyards.
Lets hope this use of military technology can stand the test of the US legal system.
Merseyside Police in the UK fell foul of the civil aviation authority (CAA) when they claimed their first sUAS arrest
Perhaps this is the opening of airspace for civilian UAS by the FAA? Or perhaps the FAA did know about the operation? Does Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke have a COA?
Safety for officers on the ground is one thing but rules need to be followed for any prosecution to stand.
Perhaps a little more worrying is the admission in the LA Times by Bill Macki head of the local SWAT team.
But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.
“We don’t use [drones] on every call out,” said Bill Macki, head of the police SWAT team in Grand Forks. “If we have something in town like an apartment complex, we don’t call them.”
Just what has been going on down there, perhaps questions will be asked of the FAA. Expect AOPA members will to be keen on hearing whats been happening.