Hobby Drones Stir Controversy with LAPD

Hobby Drones Stir Controversy with LAPD

Video footage of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood parking lot filmed by a drone hobbyist, which was then posted to YouTube, prompted the LAPD on Friday to explore possible legal action prohibiting civilians from flying camera-wielding drones over their parking lots. 

The video was reportedly shot by Daniel Saulmon, 42, according to the Los Angeles Times

“What concerns us is that they are filming over private property and it’s gated–you’re looking at the layout of the police station, how we operate, personnel license plates,” said police Lt. Michael Ling to the Times

He continued, “It’s kind of like if it was your house, if they’re flying over your backyard you’d start asking questions about it.”

Saulmon didn’t seem to agree. “They bring up the expectation of privacy, I”m not buying it. Suddenly they’re talking about how I’m trespassing on a public sidewalk. They do not have an expectation of privacy… if you want privacy, build a roof,” he told the Times.

Despite Federal Aviation Administration regulations surrounding the use of drones by private businesses and law enforcement, there aren’t any clear-cut rules about their use by the casual hobbyist, notes the Times

The police claim that drone use is considered illegal if it interferes with aviation activity or if it is used to spy on neighbors, the Times writes.

Photo: File