By Ray Villeda
A Mansfield man says a drone was hovering outside his first floor window.
He called police and was told there was little they could do about it.
Late last month, JR Page was checking the pool filter in his backyard when he heard a noise that sounded like a vacuum cleaner.
“I came around the corner, that’s when I saw the drone,” explained Page. “it looked like it was flashing taking pictures of my window.”
Page followed it down the street to a nearby development. We went to that homeowner and asked about the drone and was told it wasn’t his; but he had seen one flying in the area. Page called police.
“They said the technology is new, too new and they weren’t able to do anything,” recalled Page.
We reached out to the Mansfield Police department. MPD confirmed they received a call from Page late last month, and the officer did indeed check with the Federal Aviation Administration. According to police, they were told there was no criminality as far as flight safety is concerned.
MPD tells us it would be considered a crime if the drone took inappropriate pictures and those ended up in possession of someone or on the internet.
“I was just thinking I’m single I don’t have any kids, what if I had a kid and there was a little girl changing and drone was taking pictures of someone changing,” Page said. “it’s an invasion of privacy.”
We checked with the FAA, their spokesperson referred us to their website.
One of the rules on the website state, “Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy without the individual’s permission.”
When we pressed the FAA further on the rules, specifically if someone was allowed to fly a drone near a homeowner’s first floor window, Elizabeth Cory with the FAA said, “That’s a question for local police/city/county ordinances. FAA regs cover safety of flight, and the UAS regulations are still proposed and in the comment period.”