A Third of Americans Worry About Police Getting Drones

According to an Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll, 36 percent of Americans are “opposed” or “strongly opposed” to police use of unmanned drones in their law enforcement kit. Privacy concerns contribute:

When asked if they were concerned that police departments' use of drones for surveillance might cause them to lose privacy, 35 percent of respondents said they were "extremely concerned" or "very concerned." An almost identical share, 36 percent, said they were "not too concerned" or "not concerned at all."

Twenty-four percent fell in the middle, saying they were "somewhat concerned" about a potential loss of personal privacy.

Unfortunately, the opponents are still in the minority. A good 44 percent are okay with police using drones, but then anybody who has had to deal with somebody whose fear of being a crime victim is drastically greater than the statistical likelihood probably won’t be surprised:

David Eisner, president and CEO of the constitution center in Philadelphia, said he was surprised by the level of support for police use of drones.

"I had assumed that the idea that American police would be using the same technology that our military is using in Afghanistan would garner an almost hysterical response," Eisner said. Support for drone use "shows that people are feeling less physically secure than they'd like to because they are willing to accept fairly extreme police action to improve that security."

Mind you, America's violent crime rate has been dropping for years.

Here’s an exasperatingly rote defense from somebody who has obviously never known anybody affected by a wrong-door police raid:

But Sheana Buchanan, 49, of Apple Valley, Calif., said she had no qualms about police using drones.

"I figure if you're doing something wrong, then you should be concerned about it," Buchanan said. "But if you're a law-abiding citizen, if you're concerned about safety ... and it's going to help catch the bad guys, have at it."

I wonder want Buchanan might think about even conservative think tanks like The Heritage Foundation proposing guidelines for use of domestic drones in order to protect privacy and civil liberties?

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  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    *siiiiiigh*

    Yeah, I'd worry if I were GUILTY of something. Duh!

    If you've DONE nothing wrong...

    /sheep

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    PS Sheana Buchanan - Real American Hero

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Proprietist||

    "I figure if you're doing something wrong, then you should be concerned about it," Buchanan said. "But if you're a law-abiding citizen, if you're concerned about safety ... and it's going to help catch the bad guys, have at it."

    So of those killed by military drones, the 98% who were innocent Afghani civilians died with smiles on their faces, because in their hearts they knew they had done nothing wrong and didn't worry about it until it was already too late.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Also, a THIRD are worried? What, the other two thirds don't know the cops have drones? No, they'd know from the question...so it must be thaaaat...they're fucking sheep.

    Yep, that'd explain it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Remember, half of the populace is below average

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Don't you mean median?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    These aren't missile-equipped drones.

  • The Hammer||

    Yet.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    They're not worried because they're drones themselves.

  • Tim||

    When these things crash into houses, who will pay for it?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You

  • Tim||

    OK, question two: what happens if my dog barks at one?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You go to the pound for a new one

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    You should get rid of your dog and get a dog-shaped drone.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I guess we have to get rid of police cars, too. Anything that might crash into private property must not be used by cops.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Agreed.
    We should also put everyone on 24 hour video survailance (too annoyed to look up spelling) monitored by Top Men. After all, if you're not being shot at, what's the problem?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I take it you think the drones will have X-ray vision?

  • db||

    Maybe not, but it's likely they'll have belt-fed. 22 machineguns in the near future. I saw a prototype for lightweight drones at Knob Creek the last couple of shows. And before you laugh at the .22, imagine being on the receiving end of 1100-1200 rounds/minute of them.

  • Loki||

    Who needs that when you can use a flying robo-sniper?

  • Loki||

    I leave this here.

    If they can make a smartphone camera that can see through walls at close range it won't be too long before they can make one that can be mounted on a drone and see through walls from relatively long range.

  • The Hammer||

    Tulpa for the past 3 months: IF YOU DON'T ALL VOTE FOR ROMNEY, I'M GOING TO BURN THESE STRAW MEN!!!!!!!

  • Jmahurien||

    OH GOD NOT THE STRAW MEN.

  • Paul.||

    A Third of Americans Worry About Police Getting Drones

    And two-thirds of Americans think that the First amendment is icky. I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy about my fellow Americans as of late.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Fourth.

  • Loki||

    "You mean there's a fourth ammendement?"

    or

    "Fourth? That's that hippy ammendment that criminals are bitching about, right?"

    /average American shithead

  • Paul.||

    I think he thought I was confusing the fourth with the 1st. I wasn't. I meant what I said. If they don't care about the first amendment, no one's going to care much about the fourth.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Drone process is in the Constitution, after all. Why would it bother people?

  • wareagle||

    so that's what the Founders meant by protect the general welfare. They purposely left it open-ended to fit whatever things were developed long after they were gone.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's actually a prediction about General Will Ferr, who will run the federal drone program in 2013.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Don't forget Will's Brother Lou. Middle initial C.

  • db||

    That's actually Will Ferrell's name: William Louis Charles Ferrell. Maybe. It would explain some things.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The drones used domestically don't have missiles, so they don't even engage in drone process.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Drone use domestically is new and shiny. Wait a bit.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    That's a very bright shiny red line you're claiming would be crossed.

    Police have used helicopters and other aircraft for decades, and none of them have dropped bombs or fired projectiles as military aircraft are commonly doing.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    MOVE anyone? Sorry, couldn't resist that one.

  • Pagan Priestess||

    I was just going to point that out, but the spam filter got me. Here.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's new to me. The cops bombed them? Holy cow.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Their actions were ruled unconstitutional and they had to pay $1.5M to the victims.

  • kinnath||

    Dead people don't collect money. That's only for the next of kin.

  • Loki||

    But I'm sure their spirits were very happy to know that they're relatives would be compensated for their untimely deaths.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    From the MOVE wiki:

    Mayor W. Wilson Goode soon appointed an investigative commission called the PSIC or MOVE commission. It issued its report on March 6, 1986. The report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that "Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable."[16] No one from the city government was charged criminally.

    Fucking seriously? They dropped a FUCKING BOMB in a NEIGHBORHOOD that burned dozens of homes and NO ONE WAS FUCKING ARRESTED?

    WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yet there are those who would think that anyone who might have an inclination to armed rebellion against the state has no reason to do so; that the state is hunky fucking dory and couldn't possibly have provoked its citizens with unconscionable acts of depravity.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, even from a pragmatic, real-world point of view, leaving aside any libertarian thinking, is it hard to believe that armed drones (of the hovering variety) might be used in situations where cops are breaking down doors to get at armed suspects?

    I'd say that's likely, not unlikely. Though perhaps such drones would only be armed with (usually) nonlethal weapons.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Why aren't police helicopters doing that now?

    The whole point of the drones is to allow them to go places where police don't have the resources to go. If you're already putting police boots on the ground there's no need for a drone.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If I have a hovering drone that I can fly into a house, which I can arm with, say, a taser, the cause of officer safety would be served by sending in the drone, rather than the officer, wouldn't you say? In fact, there's an argument that doing something like that isn't, on the face of it, necessarily objectionable, assuming due process has been observed.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Police already have robots on treads which are used to investigate bomb threats; these could be much more easily adapted for the purpose you suggest. (though again, adding offensive capability would be a huge sea change, not merely another degree in the frog bath)

    A hovering drone entering a house would be overkill. The benefit of a drone is its ability to remotely surveil.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, let us wait and see. I say armed drones for cops within seven years.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The Juggalos will have seceded by then.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I have no doubt you are correct.

  • db||

    As I mentioned above, I've already seen belt fed prototype machineguns for lightweight drones. It's coming.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The unions would NEVER let that happen.

    Though every cop having an armed drone in his trunk sounds like just the thing that unions would push for.

  • sarcasmic||

    none of them have dropped bombs or fired projectiles

    Really? Helicopters routinely used as a gun platform by police, and I seem to recall police dropping a bomb on a home in Philadelphia.

    Granted it is not common place, but aren't you the one who says it only takes one exception to prove something false.

    If that is the case, then your post is false.

    False, false, false.

  • Jmahurien||

    I'm still concerned about a camera in the sky.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Commerce Clause!

  • ||

    The fun will begin when civilians have more access to drones. And not necessarily the flying type. Maybe it will just be the type with a camera that you aim at the road and send out an alert when a police car goes by. The shoe will be very uncomfortable on the other foot.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    But those will be banned, ala radar detectors, etc.

  • ||

    actually radar detectors are legal in every state accept Virgina, in CA you can't have them on the windshield, and they're only like 40 bucks on amazon

  • ||

    Weather proof Web cams with license plate reading software downloaded off the cortex. Good luck banning that stuff .

  • aelhues||

    It is becoming more and more evident that Americans are entirely to cozy. Most people, who have never even seen a crime, or been impacted by one, seem to be overly scared of what might happen, and are willing to allow the government to continue taking more and more of their freedom, for more illusionary safety.

    It's ok for the police to arrest kids for looking shady, cause some kids are up to no good. It's ok for CPS to take kids away from their parents, cause some parents are evil. It's ok, because it hasn't affected me....yet.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "But if you're a law-abiding citizen, if you're concerned about safety ... and it's going to help catch the bad guys, have at it."

    By "law-abiding" she naturally means, "not doing anything to make me feel uncomfortable".

  • VG Zaytsev||

    "I figure if you're doing something wrong, then you should be concerned about it," Buchanan said. "But if you're a law-abiding citizen, if you're concerned about safety ... and it's going to help catch the bad guys, have at it."

    I wonder how many people AP had to interview before they got that gem. Assuming that they even interviewed anyone and didn't just make it up entirely.

  • goneGalt||

    "I figure if you're doing something wrong, then you should be concerned about it,"

    In a perfect world, anyone uttering this phrase would be immediately subject to audits of their finances, professional activities, zoning compliance, etc.

    To be fair to most... The average person is likely to truly BELIEVE they are law-abiding. Until a majority in this country come to learn that there are so many laws that it is not possible to be fully in compliance with sometimes conflicting law we will continue to see this sort of attitude from the public.

  • T||

    Slackers. My sherriff's department already has them. Considering the fabulous conversations I've had with deputies that live in my neighborhood, let me tell you how glad that makes me feel.

    Time to go see about compressed air T-shirt cannons. I bet an aircraft cable net would do a job on the rotor system of these baby drones.

  • Loki||

    Careful, just like how police dogs are considered officers so that hitting a police dog that is trying to tear arm off is "assaulting a police officer", it will only be a matter of time before the drones themselves are deputized as well. Then shooting down a drone will be assaulting a police officer as well.

  • sarcasmic||

    When did the law change from something to be followed into something to be obeyed?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I wonder how many people AP had to interview before they got that gem. Assuming that they even interviewed anyone and didn't just make it up entirely.

    No kidding. Just like the swarms of people at the airport conveniently saying, "Well it makes me feel better knowing the TSA is on the job! All those dingbats who don't want to be searched should stay on the ground."

  • kinnath||

    We should set up a system where people who like the idea of security through constant surveillance can move to planned communities that have the constant surveillance that they crave. And we can put fences up to keep them safe from the rest of us. And we can post state and federal personal all along the fence to watch over the good souls residing in this planned community.

  • Pagan Priestess||

    I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • Jmahurien||

    A prison?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I had assumed that the idea that American police would be using the same technology that our military is using in Afghanistan would garner an almost hysterical response

    1. It's not the same technology...military drones that people see on the news and in the movies carry missiles. Surveillance drones do not.

    2. American police also use some of the same firearms and personnel vehicles as the military uses in Afghanistan. So?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    anybody who has had to deal with somebody whose fear of being a crime victim having their privacy violated by a drone is drastically greater than the statistical likelihood probably won’t be surprised

    Arrogance doesn't become you, Mr Shackford.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I would add that for the demographics that hang out at H+R, the likelihood of being a crime victim is far higher than the likelihood of being a victim of police abuse. But we still care about the latter, and rightly so.

    Just because other people don't share your priorities doesn't mean they're terrified retards.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Anybody in favor of being monitored by a LE drone is a terrified retard.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    In the 1920s they were saying the same thing about police cars.

    You only recoil from surveillance drones because you're not used to them.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I'm going to leave this discussion now and go to a more libertarian site like Democrat Underground.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "You only recoil from surveillance drones because you're not used to them."

    Boiling frog and all that? Just lie back, everyone. You'll get used to it sooner or later.

  • Jmahurien||

    "You only recoil from the cameras on every corner, in your house, in your work place because you're not used to them."

  • sarcasmic||

    One time I had my apartment broken into, and when the cops arrived they treated me like a criminal. After asking me some questions and running me for warrants, they left. As for the broken window and stolen items, they didn't give a shit. They were just disappointed that they didn't get me on anything.

    Same idea when I got mugged walking home from work.

    Now I don't bother. If I'm a crime victim I just suck it up. Calling the cops only creates more problems.

    As far as drones go, I really don't care. It's inevitable. Though I highly doubt they'll be used to investigate actual crime with victims and stuff. No, they'll be used to find consensual crimes against the State.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    In my town of 2500 with a scant 5 violent crimes in the past decade? Not fucking likely.

  • Paul.||

    likelihood of being a crime victim is far higher than the likelihood of being a victim of police abuse.

    Often, being a victim of police abuse is being a crime victim.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    They don't fire missiles, and they are under the supervision of Top Men.

    WHAT ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I had assumed that our main problem with drone usage overseas was killing random people with drones? Maybe I misunderstood.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I assumed that our main problem with the first flat income tax rate of 3% was that many felt the gov't wouldn't stop at that. Maybe I misunderstood.

  • sarcasmic||

    Slippery slope is a fallacy.

    Saying a 3% income tax on the super rich will result in all citizens having to report all their income to the government or be charged with a crime? Fallacy.
    Saying that using public funds for charity will crowd out private charity and create a culture of dependence? Fallacy.
    Now you're implying that drones will be abused by the police? Fallacy.

    There's no such thing as a slippery slope, unless you're at a water slide.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    There's a much bigger slide stop between surveillance drones and offensive action capable drones, than there is between 3% and 38% income tax.

    You slowly raise the frog bath temperature in the former case.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You can't slowly raise....

  • T||

    You do realize many of the drones the police buy, including the one my very own MCSO bought, have hardpoints, right? No?

    Why here's a handy little bit of info from the Vanguard Defense Industries website about the Shadowhawk.

    UAS with day CCD, FLIR and thermal cameras, fully autonomous avionics and weaponized with either 40mm, 37mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun with laser designator (military use only.)

    Now, tell me again how unlikely it is that the cops won't get those 40mm launchers or 12 gauges when they pinkie swear to only use less than lethal rounds like smoke, tear gas, or bean bag?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Most. Depressing. Article. Ever.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    There is absolutely nothing to worry about - LEOs won't use these to scope out chicks laying out in the sun, spy on neighbors, pass around screen captures they think are funny or abuse this in any way!

    Tulpa, are you channeling dunphy today?

  • $park¥||

    +ATFPAPIC

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Those are very minor abuses. I don't see how any of that would violate anyone's rights, do you?

  • $park¥||

    Can't tell if joking.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    What right does ogling at a girl lying out in the sun violate?

    Obviously a creepy activity and one she'd probably rather have them not do, but not really a rights violation.

  • $park¥||

    Do police officers currently have the right to just walk into your yard and start taking pictures of you?

  • Andrew S.||

    "Do not be alarmed. Continue swimming naked ... Aw, c'mon, continue! Come on! oh..."

    "All right Lou, open fire"

  • ant1sthenes||

    Sounds like Ms. Buchanan needs a box of pot mailed to her house.

  • Loki||

    Or a bag of weed stashed on her property and an anonymous call to the local sheriff's office.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Loki||

    So what you're saying is frogs are smarter than people. Makes sense.

  • Blueman||

    What about the slow boiled people? I suppose that's a myth as well.

  • Loki||

    A Third of Americans Worry About Police Getting Drones

    Only a third? We're doomed. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "A Third of Americans Worry About Police Getting Drones"

    Two thirds of the American people will do whatever they're told.

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