This Used Car Salesman Speaks DRONE

At MACo’s summer conference panel, Drone Dilemma: Flying Under the Radar, one panelist shares his experiences in law enforcement education on unmanned aircraft systems.

Sergeant Robert Campbell, US Capitol Police

Robert Campbell, US Capitol Police is seeking to build a foundation for local law enforcement in the realm of drones. Making some light of his mission, he portrayed himself as a used car salesman, going from one law enforcement agency to another, trying to sell officers on their role in enforcement against unlawful drone use.

Over the course of his outreach, he developed the acronym that is now used to train law enforcement across the US. A quick paraphrase would be:


D Direct your attention outward and upward

R Report to the folks who need to be notified

O Observe the area for injuries or damage

N Notice the features of the aircraft

E Execute the appropriate law enforcement action

Following Campbell, Kenny Maldonado Special Agent with the FAA’s Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) spoke about the history of LEAP program, federal preemption of airspace laws, and how LEAP can help county attorneys who want to regulate drone use from the perspective of the ground.

Captain Keith McMinn, Commander Maryland State Police Aviation Command, shared incidents of unlawful drone use in Maryland, gathered through the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, including hobbyist drone pilots hindering firefighter response and delaying medivac flights.

Delegate Michael Jackson of the Maryland House of Delegates Appropriations Committee moderated the panel and asked panelists about the role of retailers and producers of drones in protecting against unlawful use. Panelists shared the requirement that manufacturers include registration requirements in their products and how drone operating platforms prohibit flight in restricted airspace.

Delegate Jackson wrapped up the panel with the expectation that there would be more to come in the area of law enforcement against unlawful drone use.