Why Gaston cops lost their drone ‘eye in the sky’

It was the first law enforcement drone put to use in North Carolina, mimicking the very battlefield technology used to fire laser-guided missiles into camps of rebelling tribesmen in Afghanistan and to plot the area surrounding Osama Bin Laden’s compound in suburban Pakistan.

In early 2006, the CyberBug drew national attention — and scorn — for its clandestine reconnaissance mission over a gathering of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds, flying close enough to identify individual faces on the ground.

Though creeping police surveillance seemed permanent in Gaston County, the high hopes of law enforcement could not overcome the cumbersome red tape of federal bureaucracy.
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