We deserve answers on drones

by Beth Kassab, Orlando Sentinel  |  published on January 18, 2013

The latest law enforcement toy craze is sweeping the nation, and our own Sheriff Jerry Demings was all too eager to join the fad and buy a pair of drones.

He hasn’t been so keen on answering serious questions about the camera-equipped mini-helicopters he plans to fly over Orange County skies.

Questions like: “What do you plan to use these for, sheriff?”

So law-abiding residents are left to wonder: Could my property be searched and photographed from the sky without a search warrant? Could my whereabouts be tracked for no good reason other than the sheriff wants to test drive his new toy? Should backyard sunbathers beware?

Official secrecy can scare the living daylights out of people. And gives credence to fears that would otherwise sound paranoid.

“There’s nothing for us to hide here,” said Demings’ spokesman, Jeff Williamson. “We’re in the early stages of seeing what these things are and considerations of privacy … Let’s just see what they can do first then we’ll start deciding what we can do about it.”

Forgive me. I was foolish enough to think that would have been part of the vetting process before Demings signed off on spending up to $50,000 in grant money on the tiny helicopters known as the Draganflyer X6.

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