Sunday, May 5, 2013

Come on May 30th !!!


Now that the Kentucky Derby is over, it’s time to root for something else:  Come on May 30th.  Come on May 30th.
What’s the big deal about May 30th?  It’s the Missouri General Assembly’s official adjournment.  They have to shut down by midnight.  Why should the St. Louis County police chief be concerned about the end of a legislative season?  It’s not the end of it that I’m worried about.  It’s what happens between now and then.
House Bill 46 has been perfected and sent to the Senate.  It was sponsored by Rep. Casey Guernsey, a farmer from western Missouri.  What will the bill do?  It will essentially shut down flight operations for Metro Air Support, which is made up of St. Louis City and County Police and the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department.  Many of you have seen the helicopters of Metro Air Support in the sky over crime scenes, vehicle pursuits and looking for lost children.
Why does a farmer from western Missouri care about airborne law enforcement in St. Louis?  He doesn’t.  He’s mostly afraid of unmanned drones roaming our skies.  However, the bill was tweaked to include “manned” law enforcement flights, unless officers have reasonable suspicion and believe they need to take to the air to prevent imminent danger to life.  That’s a pretty high hurdle in order to get into the air. 

The paranoia in Jefferson City this session has gotten silly.  Perhaps I’d be okay with the legislature banning manned law enforcement aircraft over Missouri under one circumstance:  They can only ban the black helicopters with the darked out windows circling overhead. 
Come on May 30th !!

12 comments:

  1. retired pd sgt.May 5, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Does winning an election cause a politican's brain to wither and die? This country has gone off the deep end without their floaties when it comes to privacy and political correctness. The only guy that should be worried about airborne law enforcement is the one with something to hide. Perhaps we should be looking at what Rep Guernsey has growing on his farm.

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  2. Has anyone working for St. Louis County looked into investing in unmanned drones to be used for police work?

    Could unmanned drones be helpful in the work of what Metro Air Support does, either in support of manned helicopter flights, or to replace them?

    Could there be a significant cost-saving advantage in making the investment in a drone program for the county? And if this was implemented, would it allow Metro Air Support to have a broader more continuous aerial presence over the area while at the same time reducing overall resource input?

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    1. Aaron,

      The FAA regulations will restrict Unmanned Aerial Systems used by law enforcement to under 25 lbs, and must be in the line of sight of the operator, who must have an observer with him/her. So the distance they can be operated is a major restriction. Don't think of the big fixed wing aircraft used by the military, these are light weight, quad rotor helicopters, with a handheld controller restricted to operations no more than 400 feet above the ground. This is what the draft of the FAA regulations looks like.

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  3. This is a classic example of knee jerk legislation based on “drone hysteria.” The FAA will not develop the regulations for operating Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the National Air Space until late 2015, talk about putting the cart before the horse. UAS are intended to be a cost effective resource for law enforcement, another tool in the tool box. They are not intended to replace manned flights, but serve to supplement. UAS have limitations, they cannot conduct rescues or transport personnel, nor can they “see and avoid” other aircraft and are very restrictive in their flight duration (15 to 30 min.). They are valuable for agencies that do not have access to manned flights, to conduct initial searches, and for aerial crime scene photography. This legislation not only restricts what could be a valuable tool for LE, but also restricts the current manned flight operations that are provided by the Metro Air Support Unit, the MSHP,and the KCPD.

    Captain Kurt Frisz, St. Louis County Police
    President, Airborne Law Enfocement Association

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    1. Cpt. Frisz,

      I 100% agree with what you and Chief Fitch are saying. Our people just keep electing these weirdos because most people never bothered to take a course in civility. And also, they never had politics 101 because they were too busy doing other things.

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  4. Chief is there a link you may be able to provide to contact our individual congressman?

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  5. UAS systems would be ideal for hostage barricade incidents or situations where rapid deployment may be necessary such as if a supervisor had access to one during the gas explosions in the city a few years back or the active shooter incident at ABB only until mannered aerial assistance can respond. Considering the setup and speeds of the aircraft of the Metro Air Support Unit, this time would be minimal at best

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    1. Derek, agree 100%. The legislation against UAS was a "slippery slope" to start with. When they threw in the manned aircraft language, they went down the slope. I stand by my "drone hysteria" analogy. I think in the long run, UAS will have a minimal impact on LE but, MO went ahead and included manned flight, a service that has served this State well. There already exists plenty of laws to protect privacy for both manned and unmanned LE flight operations. Under this legislation, if Emergency Management wanted to assess the flooding from the air, they have to get a court order to do so, very sad.

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  6. We're enduring similar paranoia here in Texas.
    Bruce Bryant

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  7. This is a perfect example of how politicians place rules and set laws without knowing the repercussions of their actions. He obviously didn't do his research into how much the Metro Air Support is needed on a daily basis and the good it does in assisting alot of counties, not just St. Louis and St. Charles. Makes you wonder who is lining his pockets or what he is hiding. The hurdles being placed on police is getting out of control and the barriers are making it difficult to do the job as it is..

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    1. Thank you for putting it all in plain english Bill. Banning completely legal and public safety functions like air support seems to be leaning towards a McCarthism era where we accuse and convict if a POSSIBILITY exists of evil doing. Let's see some real evidence of drone activity before we cry fowl and restrict public servants from serving the public!

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  8. I find that the black helicopters stop following me when I reshape, and tighten my tin foil hat.... Just FYI.

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