Incidents of Unsafe Use of Drones Will Shape Report & Recommendations

The Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center has gathered incidents of unmanned aircraft systems or UAS required by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2015.

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MACo is grateful to the MCAC, Maryland’s intelligence fusion center, for their help gathering incidents of unlawful use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

MACo is participating in the work group to develop incident reports of unauthorized use of UAS (commonly called a drone), into a report for the legislature that includes recommendations for any changes to law needed to support local enforcement.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Development, Regulation, and Privacy Act of 2015, required that the Department of State Police, the Maryland Aviation Administration, local law enforcement officials, and other appropriate local government officials shall:

  1. Review the state of unmanned aircraft system recreational use in the State in an attempt to document incidents or patterns of the unauthorized or unsafe use of unmanned aircraft systems, including use that interferes with State or local public safety efforts or sensitive areas or facilities; and
  2. On or before December 31, 2018, report to the Governor and, in accordance with § 2–1246 of the State Government Article, the General Assembly on their findings and recommendations regarding changes to State law or local regulatory authority needed to support governance or enforcement efforts related to unmanned aircraft systems.

At a meeting at MCAC headquarters yesterday, the MCAC shared a report on the incidents reported to them from state and local law enforcement and other agencies over the past several years. MACo is grateful to the MCAC for assisting in this coordination role.

Based on the work group’s review of the documented incidents in Maryland of UAS interfering with public safety efforts or sensitive areas or facilities, the work group discussed:

  • Coordination between state, local, and federal agencies, including local law enforcement, the Federal Aviation Administration, and State law enforcement.
  • Enforcement options for local and state law enforcement to unsafe and unauthorized UAS use based on current law
  • The possible need for changes to state law to allow local regulation that supports local law enforcement’s ability to stop unsafe uses
  • Opportunities for education of law enforcement officers regarding how to stop unsafe and unauthorized use of UAS
  • Continued streamlined reporting of incidents of unsafe and unauthorized UAS use

The work group plans to meet monthly through December 2018, when the final report is due.

Contact Robin Clark Eilenberg at MACo for more information on this project, or with any interest in participating on behalf of local governments.