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D'oh! Police Drone Crashes Into Police SWAT Team

This is what would have happened had the Keystone Cops had drones back in the day.
 
 
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Editor's note: this incident occurred in March. Sorry for the confusion.

In a recent  investigative report by the Center for Responsive Politics and Hearst newspapers, the authors expressed concern that drones were being pushed into the domestic market before safety and ethics issues had been sufficiently addressed. Such fears were confirmed this week when the first police department in the country to acquire an aerial drone crashed the $300,000 aircraft into its own SWAT team.

The Montgomery County sheriff’s office in Texas had planned a big photo opportunity with their newly acquired surveillance drone. It all went horrible wrong when, according to the Examiner, “[The] prototype drone was flying about 18 feet off the ground [and] it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground. It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode … but when it was coming down, the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.” (The SWAT team had suited up, armored vehicle on hand, for the purpose of the photo.)

“Not only did the drone fail, and not only did it crash,  it literally crashed into the police. It’s no wonder we’re not able to find a video of this spectacular publicity failure,”  noted Gizmodo.

No one was injured but the incident nonetheless highlights concerns about the domestic proliferation of drone technology. The CRP–Hearst report explicitly listed collisions as a concern insufficiently addressed by lawmakers in the so-called “drone caucus,” who have pushed an agenda to hurry drones into the hands of police departments and private corporations.

 

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

 
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