Florida Bill Would Limit Miami-Dade Police's Use of Drones

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The Miami-Dade Police Department is one of the few local law enforcement agencies in the nation that owns a drone. Though the department has never actually used the thing, legislation is making its way through the Florida Legislature that would limit its use.

Introduced by Sen. Joe Negron, a Republican from West Palm Beach, Senate Bill 92 would create the "Freedom From Unwanted Surveillance Act." The law would place severe restrictions on how a law enforcement agency can use drones and in many cases would prohibit cops from using drones to gather evidence and other information.

To do so, police would first need to obtain a warrant from a judge that specifically authorizes the use of a drone. The only exception to this would be in cases of terrorism or if police believe "swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence, or to achieve purposes including, but not limited to, facilitating the search for a missing person."

The bill would prevent any evidence illegally gathered by a drone to be entered into court and would allow citizens to sue police agencies if their rights were violated by drones.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office is the only other local law enforcement agency in Florida aside from the MDPD that owns a drone.

SB 92 and a related bill in the House have so far passed numerous committees and seem like they're headed for a full vote.

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