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Responding to law enforcement

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by beatnik, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. beatnik

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    Does anyone know if law enforcement on the local or state level are getting instructions on dealing with drone pilots? Aside from the negative stereotyping we see, which undoubtedly also changes how cops see drone pilots, what do we say when stopped?

    Looking at DJI's and FAA recommendations as of today, it's a bit cloudy. There are no fly zones ect. And altitude restrictions around airports.

    My friend was going to shoot some exteriors of a building perhaps 3 miles from an airport. He was hoping to fly maybe 20 feet to get a nice frontal shot. No need really to go above tree top height . He set up on the side of a nearby roadway. But a cop was driving by and saw him with the P3. So he u-turned it, pulled up behind him with the lights on. Cop told him he was , "not thinkin' about flying that here." "That he was within 5 miles of the airport"...So the cop obviously had been given some type of instructions on restrictions. So to that police, 5 miles was a brick wall for a drone. My buddy packed it up and left, but I don't know what would have happened if he was flying it in front of the building. Is there a obstruction of justice or disorderly conduct charge here. Or no law being broken. Just curious if it happens to me.
     
  2. Jeff48920

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    You cannot expect to educate a police officer. Just comply with his or her directives. After you have complied you may try to engage the officer in conversation about the law in a friendly way. Better be seen as cool and cooperative.
     
  3. Ed209

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    I had an encounter with local law enforcement yesterday. It wasn't a bad experience but I was flying in open fields behind the high school. I noticed there was an unmarked car driving around in the field and they headed towards me. Out came one uniformed officer and another in plain clothes. They were very cool and just wanted to know everything about it. They hung around for 2 batteries worth of flying and were trying to radio-in another officer to come check it out but he was on a traffic stop lol.

    Anyways, it sounds like your friend ran into a LEO who knows the laws and even though he only wanted to go 20ft, I believe that's against the law. Can't argue with that.
     
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  4. RoyVa

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    If he was in a no fly zone he may have not been able to get the quad to start up. Most no fly zones have a software lock out to prevent start up.
     
  5. tgarcia

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    Most police officers probably don't know what the actual laws are when it comes to this hobby,nor do many hobbyists. However if an officer feels you cause a potential threat to others he may decide to overreact to the situation. However if its an officer that generally works near an airport, he most likely has some knowledge of the specific laws dealing with airspace.
     
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  6. Kmullins87

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    As far as the no fly zone remember it's an outward cone so 3 miles out I believe it will come on and go a certain amount of feet up, not alot... also depends on the classification of the airport a,b etc. But yeah always better to just comply and educate yourself so if it happens again you know the faa rules and in terms of that state and local can make the rules but technically only the faa can regulate us national airspace and what can and cannot fly within it and where.
     
  7. beatnik

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    The confusion on my part stems from recommendations and actual laws. Especially from this:

    Which defines specific altitudes at various distances from Category A airports. So even DJI is arbitrarily making this stuff up or they are working with some agency to come up with this. 35 feet altitude limit at 1.5 miles of a Category A airport but a gradual increase in altitude with distance. DJI Go in GPS mode does stop the aircraft and warn, but within these limits. So at 3 miles it's not going to prevent a 20 feet flight.

    But it's easier for a cop to just say no flying that thing around here. My question is if you were flying within 5 miles, just a tree top, and they stopped you, would they have a law to arrest you with? It starts getting close to regulating paper airplanes at some point. But altitude has to come into play. I agree with DJI's limits BTW.
     
  8. Volantis

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    Yes, local law enforcement at least in some states are attending drone law seminars. They are being told what we are being told, that there are legally established no fly zones and that we are not supposed to be flying over crowds, etc. They know the FAA permits exemptions. They also know that cameras on drones get treated as cameras in the hands.

    If they stop to talk to you, you should assume they already know the law and want to hear you talk and demonstrate that you know the law, too.

    I have already talked to my local police department and emergency service personnel. When I filmed the local fireworks, I specifically introduced myself to the security personnel in the area and obtained permission from the fireworks launch crew. I flew immediately next to a hospital helicopter pad, but I knew the fireworks could not be launched if a helicopter was in flight. Since I was in the immediate vicinity of emergency personnel, they could notify me if I had to land the drone to let a helicopter in safely.

    You can be certain that in the future there will a more regulated industry for model aircraft and drones. Anybody who wants to participate had better start learning the laws and getting on the side of law enforcement now.
     
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  9. Volantis

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    Based on a talk I had with local law enforcement, they cannot arrest anybody for flying a drone in regulated air space. They must file a report with the FAA, who will then visit you.

    That does not mean they can't find something else to arrest you for if they feel you are a threat.
     
    Mike Mauk likes this.
  10. Recce2

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    For most smaller real estate photos I mount my Sony A7R on a 20ft Painters pole, turn on the camera wifi and take photos using my Iphone to view and trigger the camera.

    It really works great and I get higher quality images then with the P3. Of course, the P3 is great for many other types of shots, but, 20ft for residential real estate is generally all you need and you don't have to worry about wind and trees.

    Check out this site if you have a need.
    PolePixie.com Painter Pole Adapter and Camera Accessories
     
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  11. III% Streve

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    In the US at least... They can NOT arrest you unless you are under suspicion of being involved in a crime. Breaking FAA guidelines is not a crime. The only time flying might lead to an arrest is if there is a city ordinance that forbids flight in a certain area, and has a criminal penalty associated.
     
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  12. LUISMARTINEZ

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    "My friend was going to shoot some exteriors of a building perhaps 3 miles from an airport"
    Why was he knowingly going to fly in a no fly zone w/o notifying the tower or airport operator? All it takes is a phone call. This is the type of behavior that generates problems for everyone.
     
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  13. kenjancef

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    +1
     
  14. beatnik

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    So why does Dji have a 35 foot allowable altitude at 1.5 miles from a Cat A airport if it's a rule of no flight within 5 miles? Seems contradictory. Maybe he did call the control tower. I don't know. he told me the Cop said "you can't fly that" he packed up and left to go purchase a pole cam.
     
  15. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Just a guess but perhaps a Chinese Company is more concerned about sales than providing accurate information on FAA regulations?
     
  16. beatnik

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    I suppose that it's possible that when the FAA revises special rule for model aircraft in section 336 it will have similar limits that we are seeing in the DJI instructional video above. Or DJI is just making this stuff up. It would help if they mention the requirement for contacting the control tower in the video, I guess they forgot. Or the "international aircraft agencies" they mention, didn't note that requirement of the FAA.

    Regardless, I hope law enforcement doesn't overreact when they see a drone. Especially if the operator does have permission and is within these guidelines. In the end, it is of no use to debate any of this. If a police says don't think about flying that, the proper response if, yes sir.
     
  17. III% Streve

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    The proper answer, if you know they are wrong, is to tell them to have the watch commander come and bring the statute that justifies his demand. If he refuses the fly anyway. US police can't make up the law as they go. And the can't enforce a law that doesnt exist. Let them take legal action and tear them up in court. But you better know what your talking about if you want to play hard ball!

    Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk
     
  18. LUISMARTINEZ

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    And keep a good lawyer on retainer...perhaps III% Streve will split legal costs.
     
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  19. III% Streve

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    You dont need a lawyer. If you know what the law says, and you dont break it, then you need nothing more than the law its self. If you want to take it further and sue over it then sure. But that's nothing but childish. Law enforcement is exactly that! And they work for you! Not the other way around. Know the law! Its that simple.
     
  20. LUISMARTINEZ

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    In the perfect world of LA LAW, yes. Unfortunately I live in the world of overzealous cops (I was a cop for 32 yrs.) and DAs looking to make a name for themselves, "I know the law" are famous last words. Just saying, it's a lot easier to say, yes sir and move on....(this advice is only for the rest).