North Dakota State Representative Rick Becker (R-Bismarck; pictured) knows a threat to liberty when he sees one.
Becker, a plastic surgeon serving his first term as a legislator, is proposing a bill to the North Dakota State Legislature looking to limit the use of drones by law enforcement. A story in the Huffington Post reports that Becker’s bill is “gaining bipartisan support and fostering unlikely political alignments.”
Despite the legislative restrictions he wants to impose on the use of the drones, Becker says he isn’t trying to offend police, but to defend the Constitution.
"It's a new technology that has really amazing capabilities and can be used in excellent ways for our communities. I don't want to say that drones can't be used," Becker said. "But with the new technology there are also issues, primarily privacy issues, which can come into play."
Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney resents Becker’s meddling in police business and argues that the new law would, as reported by the Huffington Post, “set a troublesome precedent.”
"Some people have this idea that these drones are some sneak and peek into their private lives," said Laney. "It's no different than a routine patrol when we drive by in a squad car on the road and look down the driveway. We are just doing it from a higher level."
That’s where Laney is wrong.
With the rise of the drones comes the rise of several critical questions of constitutionality of their potential uses. One of the most crucial of those inquiries concerns the application of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unlawful searches and seizures” and the requirement that warrants be supported by affidavits “particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
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Photo of Rep. Rick Becker: AP Images