Texas is doing its part to live up to its reputation as a tough state for law enforcement; take the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, which has used $300,000 in federal homeland security grant money to launch a weaponized law enforcement drone (don’t mess with Texas, indeed). Even in the Lone Star State, the 50-pound unmanned chopper has proven to be controversial as not everyone is on board with local drone deployment in the county. Popular Science reports that the drones could carry “Taser-esque weapons that deliver an electric charge or a firearm that fires beanbag rounds known as stun batons.” To allay misgivings, authorities are contending the device will only be used in emergency circumstances (but how Texans define “emergency circumstances” is worth pondering).
Sheriff Tommy Gage has commented that “To be in on the ground floor of this is pretty exciting for us here in Montgomery County. We're not going to use it to be invading somebody's privacy. It'll be used for situations we have with criminals.” Authorities also say the drones could be use to find missing persons or help fire departments in various counties if there are raging wildfires.
The Texan County may start a new trend in which other law enforcement agencies adopt the use of drones and enhanced technology, but questions on civil liberties may dog their success. More here.