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Drone use by police

Discussion in 'Politics, Elections & Legislation' started by wireguy, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998

    Drone Use by Police Is a Bad Precedent

    An unsettling, perhaps illegal, mixture of federal and local law enforcement resources is starting to rear its head across the land, and it will bear close monitoring. Last June, North Dakota Sheriff Kelly Janke tried to execute a search warrant on a family farm, seeking stolen cows, but was chased off by three armed men. Fearful of an armed standoff and needing help searching the 3,000 acre farm, Janke called in the Highway Patrol, a SWAT team, a bomb squad, and, surprisingly, a Predator drone from Grand Forks Air Force Base. The Predator pinpointed the suspects and showed they were unarmed, allowing police to rush in and make the first known arrests -- apparently without an arrest warrant -- of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator.

    The use of the Predator, including some two dozen additional surveillance drone flights by local law enforcement, the FBI, or the Drug Enforcement Administration for domestic investigations, may violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from a police role on U.S. soil. The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and advocates of their use cite the alleged broad authority given to Customs by Congress to work with police on "interior law enforcement support." Working with local officials to find illegal aliens or drug smugglers, or to assist during emergencies, is one thing. It's quite another to spy on citizens without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

    Meanwhile, Congress is moving ahead with a defense bill that includes broad language denying captured terrorists, even U.S. citizens seized within the country, the right to trial and subject them to indefinite detention. While we recognize the need to treat enemy combatants as just that, there already exist rules for handling enemy combatants with due process, which this bill does not. Additionally, the bill's overly broad language could allow a lawless administration (anybody seen one recently?) to start putting Americans away for almost any "threat" against the nation that it declares as such. Extreme vigilance is the word.
  2. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Banned User Banned

    Apr 6, 2010
    When these individuals chased the law enforcement off the property with guns in tote, they fell under the exceptions catagory, of being a military group.

    A similar incident happened in Tigerton, Wisconsin not to long ago where the Feds. became involved. The group was called The Posse Comitatus.

    Statutory Exceptions -- Generally. The Posse Comitatus Act does not apply where Congress has expressly authorized use of the military to execute the law. Congress has done so in three ways, by giving a branch of the armed forces civilian law enforcement authority, by establishing general rules for certain types of assistance, and by addressing individual cases and circumstances with more narrowly crafted legislation. Thus it has vested the Coast Guard, a branch of the armed forces, with broad law enforcement responsibilities. Second, over the years it has passed a fairly extensive array of particularized statutes, like those permitting the President to call out the armed forces in times of insurrection and domestic violence, 10 U.S.C. §§ 331-335. Finally, it has enacted general legislation authorizing the armed forces to share information and equipment with civilian law enforcement agencies, 10 U.S.C. §§ 371-382.

    These last general statutes were crafted to resolve questions raised by the so-called Wounded Knee cases (see below). The legislation contains both explicit grants of authority and restrictions on the use of that authority for military assistance to the police -- federal, state and local -- particularly in the form of information and equipment, 10 U.S.C. §§ 371-382. Section 371 specifically authorizes the armed forces to share information acquired during military operations and in fact encourages the armed forces to plan their activities with an eye to the production of incidental civilian benefits. The section allows the use of military undercover agents and the collection of intelligence concerning civilian activities only where there is a nexus to an underlying military purpose. Under sections 372 through 374, military equipment and facilities may be made available to civilian authorities; members of the armed forces may train civilian police on the operation and maintenance of equipment and may provide them with expert advice; and military personnel may be employed to maintain and operate the equipment supplied.

    The authority granted in sections 371-382 is subject to three general caveats. It may not be used in any way that could undermine the military capability of the United States; the civilian beneficiaries of military aid must pay for the assistance; and the Secretary of Defense must issue regulations to ensure that the authority of sections 371 to 382 does not result in use of the armed forces to make arrests or conduct searches and seizures solely for the benefit of civilian law enforcement.
  3. 391 shooter

    391 shooter Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2008
    Police use Helocopters, night vision etc now, whats the differance?
  4. noknock1

    noknock1 Active Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    391 shooter, there is no difference and in the aforementioned case the sheriff tried to execute a search warrant, meaning he merely was following the commandment of a judge to search said residence/ property for X. Three individuals armed or not obstructed justice. The military provided intelligence with no active role in actual law enforcement, no boots on the ground.

    Now had the USAF sent in their SWAT/EST to directly assist with the physical arrest of the three subjects and search the property there would be a definite problem.

    Regardless, we have been using military on and off for decades now on the southern border in an intelligence gathering capacity only and direct enforcement. Remember the Marine who shot an 18 year old goat herder in or around 1997?

    If memory serves correctly, his rifle team was part of JTF-6 which sprouted from counter-narcotic operations conducted by the military once President Reagan designated drug trafficking a threat to national security.

    I am not talking about the National Guard which is not military unless properly activated, etc..

    We are talking active duty military directly enforcing U.S. law on U.S. soil and providing training on equipment, use of equipment, and intelligence.

    So wireguy, extreme vigilance is the word? Yes, I agree with you. It has been the 'word' since the early 80's.
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