Loaded debate around lethally-armed drones increases as Connecticut takes a monumental step toward their legal use by police.
House Bill 7260 made its way through the Judiciary Committee in Connecticut extremely quickly. The bill legalizes the use of lethally-armed drones by trained law enforcement officials. If it makes its was through the House of Representatives, and is signed off by Democratic Sen. Dannel Malloy, Connecticut will be the first state to allow for such technology to be used by law enforcement, ABC News reports.
The opposition should bite the bullet on this topic. Many of their concerns regarding the use of excessive force would actually be benefits stemming from the use of such weaponry.
According to a study published in the "Journal of Technology: Law & Policy," by removing officers from the scene, the numerous factors that result in impulsive and undeniably excessive force are limited.
"Research has shown that geographic area, the events leading up to the arrest, and the suspect’s demeanor are factors that lead an officer to perceive a situation or suspect as dangerous. These factors elicit certain psychological responses, including stress and anxiety that affect that amount of force an officer uses."
By removing a cop from a situation that can be -- and often is -- misinterpreted as dangerous, responses to crime can be more levelheaded and predictable, leaving members of at-risk communities in better hands.
According to ABC News, Republican State Sen. John Kissel, who is also co-chairman of Connecticut's Judiciary Committee, has discussed some of the limited circumstances in which such force would be used.
"We can certainly envision some incident on some campus or someplace where someone is a rogue shooter or someone was kidnapped and you try to blow out a tire."
The topic of lethally armed drones found its way onto Connecticut policymakers' agendas after Austin Haughwout, 18, armed his drone with a handgun and posted videos of it being used online, THe Huffington Post reported.
Police concluded that Haughwout was following the rules and doing nothing illegal.
Clinton Police Chief Todd Lawrie said, “It would seem to the average person, there should be something prohibiting a person from attaching a weapon to a drone.”
Policy makers took need for restrictions into consideration and HB 7260 aims to address such concerns.
As of now, North Dakota is the only state that allows police use of weaponized drones, but limits such drones to "less lethal" weapons such as stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas, ABC News reports.
Connecticut is on its way to being one step ahead.