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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The use of unmanned drones has raised privacy and safety concerns across the country. But the controversial aircraft could also be a useful tool for law enforcement one a local sheriff would like state lawmakers to consider.

“It is much quicker than a helicopter or plane. much quicker,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said. “I mean, it can basically be carried around in a vehicle and launched within minutes.”

The portability, the speed and the cost are all reasons why Ingram favors law enforcement agencies’ use of drones.

“It’s just technology, but we have to be mindful how we use that technology and how it will affect our citizens and society,” Ingram said.

Some people are concerned about the thought of a drone flying around.

“I would just want to know exactly the restrictions are and what things are they are able to investigate,” said Sara Willis, who is concerned about drone use.

In a statement the Federal Aviation Administration says there are about 80 law enforcement agencies operating unmanned aircrafts. The FAA says the operator must fly the device within the line of sight no more than 400 feet off the ground.

“Man force is not getting enough done,” said Richard Warren, who supports drone use. “So with the drones, that might be more helpful to law enforcement in solving crimes.”

For agencies like the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, which only has one helicopter pilot, Ingram says having drone capabilities would be beneficial.

“You could be on scene with something like this, immediately deploy it, and start initiating the search,” he said.

Ingram says this is not something that is going to happen any time soon. These are just the beginning stages of planning for the future.

Comment on this Story

  • 1234543

    I find it very disturbing that first we had to have a helicopter, then we had to have a $500,000 boat to patrol the waterways, then an armored personnel carrier, we’ve got “citizens patrols”, and every cruiser has a computer in it, and now Mr Ingram wants “drones”????, for god’s sake, Brunswick county used to be a safe quite little place to live and retire, has something changed we need to be aware of?

  • Guest2020

    The State of North Carolina has a moratorium in place until 2015, according to the article at Star News. That won’t keep the federal government from sending them our way. This type of technology cannot be trusted in the hands of the government. Some people say that the founding fathers had no clue as to the types of weapons or technology that we have in today’s world. They did know human nature and knew what weapons in the hands of government could mean for the people. The colonials revolted for a lot less than what we put up with today.

  • Guest2020

    If you read the full article at Star News you would see that he says he doesn’t want them for spying. He wants them for practical reasons. He states that there should be regulations as to how low they are allowed to fly over residential areas. I say that the mere possessions of the things make it way too easy for abuse to happen. Government cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

  • Dirk Ziggler

    Duhhh it done woulda be reals spensives. Dem bruco boys done use em fer targetz practiceses..

  • trash

    I support shooting them down. Oops. Thought it was a bird.
    That is an invasion of privacy! Since when was this country given the right to use drones against its citizens?

  • guest6969696969

    When Do WE the *citizen’s*, Or when will We be “notified” that DRONE SEASON begins?
    We’re being “tracked”, “surveillance”, Filmed at almost every corner/street & road..
    STOPPED under the Guise of DUI “checkpoints”, being asked, YOUR PAPERS PLEASE…
    We are heading Faster into a all, but a certain “Police State”…
    Police are the NEW “SS”?? Among 10’s of other “alpha-bit” Agencies, ALL in the Name of SAFTEY?
    Are WE THE PEOPLE, giving up OUR FREEDOMS & LIBERTY in the “Name of Saftey”? Because If We are…
    Quoting Ben Franklin:..
    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    The USA is becoming very reminiscent of NAZI, Germany, circ: Early/Late 1930’s, Only with New & improved technology..

  • Angewidert

    Sheriff Ingram expects Brunswick County residents to trust him to do the right thing and not violate their privacy and personal freedom while at the very same time he wants to spy on them because he doesn’t trust them to do the right thing.

  • DollarDivots

    You wold not believe what would happen if someone came in to run for sheriff under the promise of cutting back on LE. Boys that chit is a money making bizness. You think about it, how often you are stopped under the guise of safety for the common good. You just look, google, at the number of boating deaths in NC per year, around 20, for years it was less that 10, you can’t name me the last one in this area. And every year they drown 100 tourist with their dredged out beach sand causing rip currents. Listen to me lay it out like the Terminator. If they really cared about saving lives, they would outlaw alcohol, outright, 10% of all deaths in the US are directly related to alcohol. That is the biggest lie Obama ever told, the weed never killed anybody, and weed smokers are better drivers, google it. SO DON’T GET ME STARTED. As I said boys, that LE is a money making bizness.

  • DollarDivots

    Them pilots don’t come cheap. They train them at the AF academy in Colorado Springs. They can put guns on them that can shoot you right between the eyes at a half a mile…lol, fools

  • Angewidert

    Regardless of whatever the reason or reasons he wants to have drones, his statement was designed to put the best public face on it he could. Who knows what his real deal is.

    Personally, I’d rather not take the chance of finding out. That’s just too big a gamble.

  • Guest2020

    I know. That’s why I made a point to say that it was what he said. It has been a long time since I have trusted any politician on the face of what he says.

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