Carroll County Times

Carroll commissioners reject drone resolution

While his colleagues debated the legal implications and necessity of a resolution restricting the use of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), in Carroll County, Commissioner Dave Roush waited until the end of the 30-minute dispute to comment.

"My position is that this is beyond the purview of this board and I'm not going to support it," Roush said.


Shortly thereafter, the Board of County Commissioners voted 2-2 on Commissioner Robin Frazier's drone resolution, which failed for lack of majority.

Frazier and Commissioner Richard Rothschild supported the resolution. Commissioner Haven Shoemaker was absent from Thursday's meeting.


Frazier first brought her proposal to restrict the use of drones in the county to the board in July. The proposal received lukewarm support from the board before Frazier announced she would draft a resolution and bring it back to the board.

More than eight months later, Frazier's resolution came before the board Thursday.

Under the resolution, the Board of County Commissioners called on state and federal legislators to to adopt legislation requiring agencies to only use drones in compliance with search warrants and probable cause. The resolution stated that county use of aerial photography, whether by police or county agencies, could not be used without probable cause and a search warrant.

"This resolution is about making a statement against using drones without probable cause or a search warrant," Frazier said.

Shortly after the Frazier introduced the idea in July, Col. Phil Kasten, of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, said the department does not own, lease or use drones and has no plans to do so in the future.

Commissioner Doug Howard strongly opposed the resolution Thursday, calling it a "really silly notion"

"I feel it is a tremendous waste of time and resources and I think it makes us look silly," he said.

Howard also questioned why the Board did not address this with state legislators before the General Assembly convened in Annapolis.


He also cited feedback from the county attorney's office and economic development department, who expressed concern since some area businesses construct drones or parts for drones.

"It's been made clear, I think, in the correspondence to us that this is something that would have no weight, really no legal purpose at all," Howard said.

Rothschild said he supported the resolution because it sets expectations for the appropriate use of drones.

"This sets a set of expectations for what we expect of the state, for what we expect of the federal government  and it intends to ensure our citizens that we are going to continue to do everything we can to constrain the use of drones in compliance with the Fourth Amendment," he said.

Later in the meeting, Howard and Rothschild engaged in a heated argument on the topic where Rothschild alleged that Howard did not support the county's Second Amendment resolution and "doesn't give a darn about citizens' rights."