Americas Safety

Drone operator taken into custody after close call with LAPD helicopter in Hollywood


LOS ANGELES (KABC) –A close encounter with a hobby drone forced a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter to take evasive action while searching for a suspect in Hollywood.

Police in the helicopter were conducting their search around midnight near Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue.

Authorities say the drone swooped in very close to the helicopter, sparking an all-out search for the pilot.

Shortly after the close call, investigators found the pilot in a Rite Aid parking lot and took him into custody for interfering with police work. Officers also confiscated the drone.

According to LAPD, the pilot, whose identity was not released, was questioned and released with no charges.

Drones have also posed a serious problem in wildfire zones.

Firefighting aircraft have been hampered for making drops over fires – most recently in the Cajon Pass blaze that jumped the freeway.

There are also privacy concerns when it comes to drones. Earlier this year, a Huntington Beach resident swatted a drone out of the air after telling the operator not to fly near his home.

Lawmakers are working to clarify the rules, proposing state legislation that would make it a crime to fly private drones near wildfires and 350 feet above private property.

Officials hope such laws will keep drones from putting the public and pilots in danger. However, drone operators say restrictions would hurt the budding drone business.

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