Drones becoming a threat to first responders

First responders — fire, EMS, police — say the increased use of drones is putting people’s lives at risk.

Currently, there are a few limited rules as to where hobbyists can fly drones, but police and firefighters say that the requirements are too lenient because, for one thing, they cannot even be enforced in the middle of real-time operations.

First responders also say that hobbyists can’t be discerned from criminals or terrorists who have malicious motives, which give them the advantage against firefighters and police officers who are trying to assist or protect the public.

Earlier this month the Department of Homeland Security issued an updated terrorism advisory that said terrorists are increasing turning to drones as weapons. If you search on the Internet, you can also find footage of fighters in Syria using drones to drop explosives, with deadly effect.

Sgt. Randy Sterett, a Bomb Squad Commander in California’s Orange County, says the threat is real.

“Some of these drones can fly anywhere from one to 15 pounds of explosives,” he said, “which is a huge, huge amount of explosives.

“There’s been the SWAT operation going on and a UAV [drone] driving—flying—right into the front yard and watching as they’re approaching the house, putting their safety and the safety of those who are in the community at risk,” Sterett added. [source]

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Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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