Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What goes up must come down

Now that the aerial search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet has been called off, resources can now be turned toward finding the unmanned drone that crashed (under mysterious) circumstances in Lake Conroe. While the part of the Indian Ocean many believe the airliner crashed in is considered extremely remote, Lake Conroe has often been described as being on the very edge of civilization.

For some strange reason the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office made the decision - that was then ratified by county commissioners - to spend a quarter of a million dollars on an unmanned drone to provide aerial reconnaissance of SWAT team operations.

Dive teams have been unable to locate the remains of the drone due to conditions at the bottom of the lake.

Now why would a law enforcement agency in a suburban county need a $250,000 unmanned drone? Beyond the obvious reason that they could brag about having one, I can't think of any. While a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office said that the drone wasn't used for surveillance, I seem to recall the NSA claiming that Edward Snowden's claims were false. We all know how that turned out.

The use of unmanned drones by law enforcement is very troubling. The only reason a law enforcement agency would want a device capable of viewing the ground from up high is to find out what folks are doing on their property sheltered from the unauthorized view of law enforcement officers on the ground. With a camera-equipped drone flying overhead there is no such thing as privacy as the eye in the sky can see it all.

The use of drones, as well as the outfitting of police officers in military-style gear, is another move toward the militarization of the police. It is symbolic of the "us-against-them" mentality that seems to have taken hold in law enforcement over the past decade.

The incompetence of the folks operating the unmanned drone has cost Montgomery County taxpayers a lot of money - money that could have been used for parks or roads. Maybe those in charge of the county's purse strings will think twice about writing another check for another shiny toy.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Next they will want their on android army like in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace