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.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info