Legislators in Missouri should consider legislating to limit the use of drones near state prisons, after recent observations have raised concern among prison officials that weapons or drugs were dropped in the compound.
Republican Rep. Mike Henderson has introduced a bill that would make any mischief a knowingly knowingly flying a drone less than 300 feet high and near the remotest perimeter of jails, St. Joseph News-Press reported. . The legislation would also add criminal charges for attempting to smuggle contraband into state prisons.
The Missouri Prison Services Department has reported 11 drone sightings near state prisons since 2016, but no cases of abandoned contraband have been confirmed, said the spokesman for the state. agency, Karen Pojmann.
"We have not established any direct or confirmed connection between unmanned aircraft and contraband, but it is certainly possible that contraband was introduced by unmanned aircraft that were not spotted, "said Mr Pojmann. "Medications were found in balloons used for sports activities, for example, or appeared on the ground without a clear point of origin."
Henderson said the proposed legislation included exemptions so that law enforcement could fly over the facilities in drones, in case of riot or other situations.
Legislators will review the bill in the coming weeks. When it was passed, Missouri would be part of a dozen states regulating drones near prisons, just as federal laws passed last year by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"While technology is constantly evolving, sometimes we just need to update the law, we're just trying to update it in a sensible way to ensure the safety of people in correctional facilities, both offenders and offenders. "said Henderson.