xml:space="preserve">
Deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff's Department demonstrate a pair of their drones. Carroll County is one of the first jurisdictions in the state to incorporate drones into their policing for search and rescue, documenting accident scenes among other functions.
Deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff's Department demonstrate a pair of their drones. Carroll County is one of the first jurisdictions in the state to incorporate drones into their policing for search and rescue, documenting accident scenes among other functions. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

I don’t get the privacy concern with police use of aerial drones (“Drones are a useful law enforcement tool in Maryland, with some parameters,” Nov. 19).

As I understand it, without a search warrant, anything a law enforcement officer can observe without trespassing is already fair game. So, all those rooftop surveillance exercises on “The Wire,” or in real life, would have been legal. Law enforcement with either eyeballs or the current stationary camera array or with the proposed unmanned drones all seem the equivalent. These three methods merely vary in cost, efficiency and, importantly, risk of injury or death to law enforcement officers.

Advertisement

What they have in common is that they involve the observance of activities that may be a crime, or that may constitute information important to investigating crime. Now, if a drone is peeking into windows, I’d welcome a privacy discussion but even what law enforcement can see through a window — if it indicates a crime in progress — should prompt action.

Tim Naughton, Baltimore

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement