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Lawrence will limit city's ability to use drones

Published on -9/25/2013, 11:19 AM

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Although the city of Lawrence has no plans to buy or use drones, the city commission is hearing from residents who want the technology banned.

On Tuesday, the commission declined to support a resolution prohibiting the use of drones in Lawrence, but it agreed to consider a statement saying the city doesn't intend to use drones for the foreseeable future. If the city does get drones in the future, it would develop a formal policy before using them, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/1flDUCg ).

More than 20 people wearing stickers that read "Protect Privacy Liberty" attended the commission's weekly meeting to discuss the possibility of adding drones to the city's vehicle fleet or police department.

"I guess this just shows how active people are in the community when there is even a chance people's civil liberties would be infringed," Mayor Mike Dever said.

The proposed resolution would have placed a moratorium on city drone purchases until the state wrote statewide regulations for the devices.

Members of Kansans for Responsible Drone Use said they were pleased with the commissioners' actions.

"I think it is a definite step forward," said Patrick Wilbur, a member of the group who is also vice chairman of the Douglas County Libertarian Party. "What we really wanted to do was create a public dialogue about the issue."

The group includes members from a wide range of groups, including the Douglas County Republican Party and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.

City commissioners said they didn't want to try to write a policy until the city is seriously considering using drones.

"If we owned a drone or we were going to buy a drone, we would need a drone policy," City Commissioner Bob Schumm said. "But we don't own one and we don't have any interest in having one. I just think this is all very premature."

City Commissioner Mike Amyx was tasked with meeting with members of the group to draft a statement that could be brought back to the commission for consideration.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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