Seattle PD Permitted to Fly Infrared Drones

By on October 26, 2012

by Ezra Van Auken

This past February President Obama signed the FAA Reauthorization Act, a measure that could permit up to 30,000 drones in United States airspace. Whether the drones are for local and state law enforcement or federal agencies like the Dept. of Homeland Security, the notion has raised a heap of controversy.

The latest local law enforcement group to get permitted is the Seattle Police Dept., which is now on the receiving end of Draganflyer X-6 drones. These UAVs will come installed with surveillance cameras and infrared eyes that will make it capable to see in the darkness. It is unclear on the number of drones being permitted to the SPD.

Interestingly, a local news group, the Sky Valley Chronicle noted that SPD has had a history with stretching constitutional boundaries, specifically after the US Justice Dept. found the Seattle PD in “a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law,” which already gives a sign of over policing.

Seattle’s move has obviously generated controversy, pushing the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington to speak out about the announcement. “Police drones have valuable uses, but they also provide an unprecedented ability for the government to engage in surveillance of the activities of law-abiding people,” explained ACLU Executive Director, Kathleen Taylor.

ACLU-WA is also making an attempt to retract the policies that law enforcement will follow, looking to understand more on when and how the drones will be used.

This police department is 1 of 50 who have received permits for UAV-use so far.

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  1. Sami

    October 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    America you are crazy

  2. Larry

    October 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

    American citizens need to start speaking out!!!! Too many things are being done by our government and alot of people are just rolling over and taking it. This stuff has got to stop, but it won’t stop until the majority of Americans fight back. Stop expecting others to do the fighting for you!!!!

  3. Rwolf

    October 29, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Without a Warrant: Police Drones—Recording Telephone & Private Conversations In Your Home & Business To Forfeit Property?

    It is problematic local police will want to use drones to record without warrants telephone and private conversations inside Americans’ homes and businesses: Despite some U.S. cities and counties banning or restricting local police using drones without warrants to invade citizens’ privacy, local police have a strong financial incentive (Civil Asset Forfeiture) to use their drones or Federal Drones. Should (no-warrant) drone surveillance evidence be allowed in courts—circumventing the Fourth Amendment, for example drones covertly recording private conversations and electronic communications in Citizens’ homes and businesses, expect federal and local police Civil Asset {Property Forfeitures to escalate. Civil asset forfeiture requires only a mere preponderance of civil evidence for federal government to forfeit property, little more than hearsay: Any conversation, phone call or other electronic communication captured by a drone inside a home or business, police could take out of context to initiate arrests and civil asset forfeitures to confiscate a home, business and related assets. Local police now circumvent state laws that require someone first be convicted of a crime before police can civilly forfeit their property—by referring their investigation to a Federal Government Agency that may legally rebate to local police up to 80% of assets the Feds forfeit. Federal Government is not required to charge anyone with a crime to civilly forfeit property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to state and federal government asset forfeiture in addition to illegal drug forfeiture laws. Increasingly local police are paid part or all their salary from proceeds realized from civil and criminal asset forfeiture. Police have to confiscate Citizens’ property to keep their job. This is a clear conflict of interest. At the least, Congress should require the Federal Government prove by Clear and Convincing Evidence that a property is subject to Civil Asset Forfeiture, not a mere preponderance of civil evidence, little more than hearsay.

    The passed Federal “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” effectively eliminated the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date) police allege they “learned” an asset became subject to forfeiture. It is foreseeable should (no warrant) government-drone electronic surveillance be admissible in courts, police will relentlessly sift through Citizen and businesses’ (drone captured emails, Internet data, private conversations and phone communications seized on private property in hopes of discovering crime or civil violation to cause arrests and property forfeitures. It is problematic without public oversight, a corrupt U.S. Government agency or local police, may use drone no-warrant searches of Citizens’ emails, Internet data and phone call communications to extort and blackmail Americans; sell (no-warrant drone acquired physical and electronic surveillance information) seized from Americans and private businesses.

    Almost every week the media reports police arrested and convicted for selling drugs, extorting drug dealers, falsifying reports to cause arrests; perjury in court. It is foreseeable this kind of corruption will find its way into government / police drone search and seizure of lawful Citizens’ private property to cause arrests and property forfeiture.

    Under U.S. federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. Most U.S. Citizens, property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a “Catch 22” criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial of guilt made to government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do the crime” may (involuntarily waive) a defendant’s right to assert in their defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” past for prosecution; any fresh denial of guilt even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during a Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceeding to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason many innocent Americans, property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture.

    Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579. U.S. See paragraph (6) at:

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