“Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.
“Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.
“He also called in a Predator B drone.
“As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.
“But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.”
Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front, by Brian Bennett, LA Times, December 10, 2011
Militarizing, or further militarizing, the civilian police is just not a good idea. If the civilian police are at war then whom else are they at war with but the civilians and citizens they’re sworn to protect? We have too much of this problem in Los Angeles unfortunately (see Mike Davis, “City of Quartz” and Steve Herbert “Policing Space”). I might be okay with this if I thought it was only going to be used for dire situations like this one in No Dak. But give police a predator drone and everything becomes a dire situation and that’s happening already if Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. Surveillance flights in North Dakota? What the hell do they need to fly surveillance flights on in North Dakota? And on whom?
This makes me wonder how long before the police start using them in Los Angeles and other urban areas, if they aren’t already? How long before they start killing people with them? Could we please elect some people to protect us from a police state? And could the guy we thought we elected to protect us from a police state start protecting us from a police state? Yes, of course I mean Barack Obama.
Update 20130210: Droning us out. Drones in California now.