Connecticut May Become First US State To Allow Deadly Police Drones

When drones first arrived on the scene they were treated as hobby gadgets by experts. But pretty soon we have drones monitoring borders, customs using drones to sniff contraband goods, prisons using drones to monitor jailbirds and least but not the last drones being used to check cheating in examinations. However, none of the above drones were sinister which could take human life. If all goes according to plans, the state of Connecticut in the United States of America will be the first state to allow their police and law enforcement agencies to use deadly drones which can kill people.

The state of Connecticut has voted to allow law enforcement agencies to use drones equipped with deadly weapons.The legislation, approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday, would ban so-called weaponized drones in the state but exempts agencies involved in law enforcement. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Once the House of Representatives passes the bill, it will sent to the US senate and then notified into a law meaning that the Connecticut police will have hitherto unknown powers of shooting down a wanted criminal directly from the sky.

Ironically, the legislation was introduced as a complete ban on weaponized drones but just before the committee vote it was amended to exclude police from the restriction.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, was reviewing the proposal, “however in previous years he has not supported this concept,” spokesman Chris Collibee wrote in an email. The bill has been criticized by civil right activists and ACLU who are lobbying to restore the bill to its original language before the full House vote.

“Data shows police force is disproportionately used on minority communities, and we believe that armed drones would be used in urban centers and on minority communities,” said David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut.

“That’s not the kind of precedent we want to set here,” McGuire said of the prospect that Connecticut would become the first state to allow police to use lethally armed drones.

Human costs?

Using drones to police is nothing new. In 2015, North Dakota became the first state to permit law enforcement agencies to use armed drones but limited them to “less than lethal” weapons such as tear gas and pepper spray. However, police using lethal drones is something new and has to be debated carefully. The US has been using Predator and Reaper UAVs to drop bombs in enemy territories. Data over the years indicates that these drones have been killing more civilians than the targeted criminals and terrorists. However, there needs to a debate about fixing the responsibility If police were to kill an innocent civilian using such lethal drones. Such lethal drones can also be used by a rogue police official to kill innocent civilians for malafide gains. Similarly, a politician can use the system to terminate political opponents using the lethal police drones.