Next time you attend a parade, there might be an eye in the sky.
A new law signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday expands local police departments’ authority to use drones to surveil certain events, respond to certain 911 calls, inspect buildings and participate in public relations events.
House Bill 3902 passed 56-1 in the Senate and 84-7 in the House with three members voting “present,” The law drew some concerns from civil liberties groups which ultimately led to added privacy protections and disclosure requirements.
The push to expand when police drone authority originated after a 2019 mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, according to the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora. She and others received renewed calls after a 2022 shooting at a July 4th parade in Highland Park last year.
“I hope people are safe and that this can prevent anything else from happening,” Hernandez said.
Kenny Winslow, executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, supported the measure and is already planning to offer training on the new law to police departments. He said drone technology could save lives and expects more departments to use them moving forward.
But he added that the protections contained in the bill – including requirements that police post notices if they are surveilling an event and keep a record of flight paths – were an important part of the final product.
“We’re trying to be as transparent with the public as we can,” Winslow said.
Source : News Room