Richland County Sheriff’s Department got back to Free Times after press time Tuesday to weigh in on state legislation that would restrict the use of drones by state and local law enforcement, expressing grave concerns about House Bill 3514.
“It’s taking a burdensome and restrictive stance toward law enforcement,” Capt. Chris Cowan says.
The position is at odds with other law enforcement, who took more moderate views of the bill in a story that appears in today's print edition of the paper.
Cowan says a major concern is that the legislation causes confusion by conflating drones with remote-controlled helicopters.
“’Drone’ denotes military equipment. We’re using radio-controlled helicopters,” Cowan says, adding that the difference lies in their capabilities. Drones can range further, higher and stay in the air longer.
Cowan says 90 percent of RCSD’s camera ‘copter’s airtime is devoted to community policing, which he defined as outreach and education programs for youths and communities.
The other 10 percent, he says, is for situations when an eye-in-the-sky could reduce risk to officers and citizens, like a recent bank robbery on Two Notch Road in which suspects fled on foot into some nearby woods.
H.3514, which cleared the S.C. House unanimously and now awaits further debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee, would prohibit the use of drones for gathering evidence without a judge’s search warrant, except in cases of extreme risk to public safety.
Cowan says RCSD’s camera ‘copter abides by the same laws and regulations that apply to law enforcement’s traditional use of planes and helicopters. He says it has never been deployed in a situation that would require a search warrant.
Conservative Republicans in both the House and Senate have introduced similar anti-drone legislation.
Veteran Vapors now open!
Veteran-owned and operated, Veteran Vapors is located at 2308 Airport Blvd. in West Columbia. This month, 10% of all juice sales will be donated to Save the Ta-Tas. Special discounts available to veterans, military and public safety officials.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
$10 Spa Specials!
Join us for 60-minute facials, microdermabrasion, bikini waxing, and more for only $10! 823 Gervais Street, Suite 120. Text your appointment request to 803-468-4643.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
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Real Estate Spotlight
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