Monday, January 14, 2013

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings wants to use drone planes

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings
Privacy-schmivacy. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings wants to use drone planes to spy on us:

Orlando Sentinel | Sheriff's Office wants to fly drones over Orange County skies
The Orange County Sheriff's Office is experimenting with two surveillance drones that it hopes to turn loose over Metro Orlando skies this summer.
Sheriff's spokesman Jeff Williamson would not reveal specific uses for the drones, larger versions of which are known for flying over tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan to drop bombs on suspected terrorists.
But Williamson did say Orange's remote-controlled planes would not be armed...
Oh! They won't be armed! Well, that changes everything! I'm so glad Sheriff Demings isn't going to be shooting Orange County citizens to bits by remote control!

This is an alarming intrusion into the lives of private citizens, and technology that is all too easy to abuse. And isn't it alarming that Demings' spokesman "would not reveal" exactly how they want to use the drones? Ugh.

Maybe while Sheriff Demings has his little spy planes up in the sky, he can look for his wife's missing gun. You know, the service revolver that Val Demings somehow had stolen from her police car when she was Sheriff of Orlando? We'd hate for a little thing like that to get in the way of her political ambitions and efforts to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners out there.

Kudos to State Senator Joe Negron (R-Stuart), who has been a vocal opponent of broadly expanding the use of drones by local law enforcement:
[Negron] has introduced a bill (SB 92) for the upcoming legislative session in March to limit the use of drones only to when the federal government says a terrorist attack is imminent, to collect evidence in criminal cases after a judge issues a search warrant and during a hostage situation.
Drones are "very intrusive technology," Negron said.
Read more about Senate Bill 92 here.

So, how ironic is it, that after years of liberals howling that George Bush was trampling on the Constitution with the Patriot Act, the biggest cheerleaders for drones are all Democrats? 

It's almost impossible to hear any of Democrat elected official ever make even the tiniest peep in opposition to the use of drones...even considering that the ones Obama is using actually end up killing people. (Heck, Joe Kennedy III, MA-4's new Congressman - you get the government you deserve, people - loves drones so much, he gave one of them credit for killing Osama bin Laden.) 

As a final note, don't miss this important detail in the Sentinel article:
The agency still needs approval from county leaders and the Federal Aviation Administration to use [the drones]. The FAA said it does not comment on drone applications...
Wait, what? Sheriff Demings needs the approval of the Mayor (a Republican) and the Orange County Commission (five of six of whom are Republicans) in order to move forward with his drone program?

Yep, that's exactly what has to happen: 
To get drones in the air, the Sheriff's Office also needs the Orange County Commission to sign on before seeking the FAA's OK. That means a presentation to the commission is likely, according to emails exchanged between the Sheriff's Office and the county. 
If the idea of drone planes flying over your house bothers you, here is some contact information to let your elected officials know what you think:

P.O. Box 1440
Orlando, FL 32802-1440 
Non-emergency line: (407) 254-7000

201 S Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor
Orlando, FL 32801

Phone: 407-836-7370
Fax: 407-836-7360 

Phone: 407-836-7350
Fax: 407-836-5879

Phone: 407-836-7350
Fax: 407-836-5879

Phone:407-836-5140 or 407-836-5309 
Fax: 407-836-5976

Phone: 407-836-7350 
Fax: 407-836-5879

Phone: 407-836-7350

Phone: 407-836-5860
Fax: 407-836-5879

Make sure to identify yourself and your address so they know you are an Orange County resident. Ideally, contact both the Mayor's office and the Commissioner who represents your district.

Remember, your comments will be taken more seriously if you are concise and polite. I've met all the members of our Commission and while I haven't agreed with every decision they've made, they are decent people. Seriously. Be nice.

Follow me on Twitter at @rumpfshaker

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