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Bill Regulating Use of Drones by Police Languishing in Kentucky General Assembly

A bill that seeks to define how drones could be used by Kentucky law enforcement groups has yet to get a hearing in the General Assembly. 

Under the measure, police would have to secure a warrant before using a drone to gather evidence against an individual.

Kentucky ACLU program director Kate Miller says it’s important to note that House Bill 342 does not ban all uses of drones by law enforcement groups.

“There was recently a train derailment in Louisville. If they wanted to take images of that in order to help out with the cleanup, they would be allowed to use a drone for that," Miller told WKU Public Radio. "But if they think I’m a suspicious character and want to check out what I’m doing, they’re going to need a warrant for that.”

Miller says the bill would continue to allow police to use drones to search for missing persons without getting a warrant.

Last year, nine states passed laws that set limits on how drones could be used by law enforcement groups.

Miller says that as far as the Kentucky ACLU can tell, there are currently no state laws on the books in Kentucky that specify how police can use drones to gather evidence.

House Bill 342 has sponsors from both political parties, including Lakeside Park Republican Rep. Diane St. Onge, and Greenville Democratic Rep. Brent Yonts.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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