Mechanized extensions of the police force will soon be buzzing through North Dakota skies, taking down any non-compliant suspect via rubber bullets, Tasers and tear gas.
Bill HB 1328 allows North Dakota police to equip drones with any “less than lethal” weapon. Oddly, the bill was initially intended to ban the weaponization of police drones, but at the last moment the state house committee allowed Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association to amend HB1328 to permit pretty much anything besides a firearm.
The new bill has brought about a level of controversy. Some feel the airborne attack route is a step in the right direction, while others don’t quite agree with it.
“This is one I’m not in full agreement with,” said Rep. Rick Becker, the Republican sponsor of the original, unmodified bill. “In my opinion, there should be a nice, red line: drones should not be weaponized. Period.”
Some companies have already outfitted drones with less than lethal weapons. CUPID, the Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone, remotely fires a Taser.
However, according to HB 1328, there could be a far greater range of less than lethal drones to include aerial batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray, sound cannons, water cannons, and any other non-firearm weapon available to police.
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)