alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

D'oh! Police Drone Crashes Into Police SWAT Team

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.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close