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Sheriff Wants Drones To Peek Inside Buildings

Sheriff Gregory Ahern wants to put Alameda County on the map as the first jurisdiction in California to use surveillance drones for law enforcement purposes, turning to technology previously used to hunt insurgents in Afghanistan that would allow police to peek inside buildings to detect heat sources of people or the lights of indoor pot growing operations.

Although Sheriff Ahern promised that the drones would only be used in “emergency” situations such as high speed chases, he told NBC News that the devices could also be used for “proactive policing,” including scanning buildings for heat sources such as people or lights that could indicate illegal marijuana growing operations.

The drones, which cost $50,000-$100,000 dollars, weigh just four pounds and can stream live video back to the operator. The Sheriff’s office is looking into whether a Homeland Security “community policing” grant can be utilized to cover the cost of the devices.

The ACLU points out that the drones violate the 4th Amendment because they allow police surveillance of private property without a warrant.

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