Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Does this thing work?

Well of course the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department needed a drone. Law enforcement agencies are lined up like lemmings outside an Apple store to get their hands on the last must-have toy.

Nevermind those annoying little questions like, for instance, just what the hell do you need a drone for anyway? The people asking that just don't get it. And what fun is it for a SWAT unit to sit outside a building with their rifles at the ready when someone could be flying a remote controlled aircraft overhead?

Okay, forget for a second that the drone can't look inside the building it's flying over. Unless, that is, someone is  holding hostages on the roof.

Not only are the use of drones a growing threat to our right to be left alone by the government, our safety may also be under attack - by the drones themselves.

It would seem there was a little snafu up in Montgomery County the other day. The sheriff, Tommy Gage, his command team and a SWAT unit were conducting a little demonstration of the effectiveness of their new toy law enforcement tool. It was photo op day and the brass were out in force.

Unfortunately, things didn't end quite the way it had all been drawn up. You see, the drone, flying all of 18 feet off the ground, somehow managed to lose contact with the remote control unit. Oops. The drone, having lost its signal, then shut itself off. But the most delicious part of the exercise?

The drone crashed into the SWAT unit's special "Bearcat" armored vehicle. And the need for a law enforcement agency to have an armored vehicle is another subject for another day.

Thank god the officers were well-protected from their own devices.

Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Gage could not be reached for comment, nor could his chief deputy in charge of his drone program.

I'm fairly certain that Mr. Gage would have only been too happy to talk to reporters after a "successful" photo op. He gets to look like he's really tough on crime and the public gets to see where their tax money goes. Now he just looks like a bumbling fool who wasted a fistful of dollars on a toy plane that doesn't work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have a problem with an drone. You don't mention a problem with a manned helicopter. One can assume then that the helicopter is ok with you. So why is a drone, which costs much less in both equipment cost and salary for a pilot, while obtaining the same results offend you? If it helps protect the citizens, and saves money, where is the gripe? A helicopter can See what the drone can see.
Just remember next time you are chasing that ambulance to look up. They might just be watching you speed down that road chasing those dollar signs and you may get a ticket. Maybe if you wear a hat made of aluminum foil they won't see you.