Thursday, April 18, 2013

Florida Legislature First To Limit Law Enforcement Drones

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The Florida Legislature unanimously voted to regulate the use of drones by law enforcement to gather evidence or other information.   

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart), the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” (SB 92) passed in the Florida Senate last week and its House companion bill (HB 119), sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne), passed the House this week.

The bills provide that the use of drones can only be used if:

1. A search warrant is first obtained;
2. There is imminent danger to life or serious damage to property;
3. Forestalls escape of a prisoner or destruction of evidence;
3. Used to search for a missing person; or
4. Department of Homeland Security declares a terror threat.


If law enforcement fails to comply with the provisions, the bills provide that a citizen can sue for civil damages and any evidence obtained would be inadmissible in court.

The bill now heads to Governor Rick Scott's office.

UPDATE: Governor Scott Signs Drone Regulation

TOP PHOTO: Orange County Sheriff's Office personnel pose with a drone. Credit: OCSO