No drones for Greensboro Police Department

Clark talking about problems with the noise ordinance
"Where we can measure, until we learn how to hover, will always be a problem." -Police Attorney Jim Clark

A few weeks ago at a meeting about Greensboro's noise ordinance, Clark remarked about the difficulty of measuring decibel levels in a "sound shadow," which is created by amplified noise emanating from a rooftop (think Greene Street club and Center Pointe, at least until the club puts a grill in).

Clark didn't say anything about drones, but his comment about hovering rattled around in my head for a while after the meeting. Is Greensboro considering drones to monitor big public events, handle noise complaints, look for stolen vehicles or anything similar?

Other cities have toyed with the idea of drones, with some like Seattle abandoning plans after concerns about surveillance. Campus police at the University of Alabama in Huntsville are even getting drones to monitor the college. I figured it was unlikely here, but not far-fetched, so I asked if the department had looked into, discussed or done anything about drones.  Turns out the department has talked about it, but there are no plans in the works.

"We don't currently have drones and are not forecasted to get any," police spokesperson Susan Danielsen said via e-mail. "We do think they would be helpful in searching for missing persons."

Screenshot from the News & Record
UPDATE: While the total number of votes in this poll, conducted by the News & Record on their website last month, is unknown, the results show that an overwhelming number of people who participated are concerned about police using drones. Out of nearly 1,000 votes, about 85 percent said they are concerned.

A link to the poll results is no longer live on the newspaper's website. The poll was a sidebar on the homepage of the paper's site.

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