Drones land in North DakotaMany people have strong reactions to the idea of drones. But before companies like Amazon reach their destination of drone package delivery, drones are already making an appearance in North Dakota.
By: Amber Schatz, KX News
Many people have strong reactions to the idea of drones. But before companies like Amazon reach their destination of drone package delivery, drones are already making an appearance in North Dakota.
We wanted to look at all angles to the great drone debate.
"I guess I'm not aware of any companies in Bismarck that can offer shots like that." says Dave Dieble, D & N Cinematics.
One of the first to locally offer drone technology is a production company.
"We can spin around and hover, that kind of thing and also do it while they're driving..."
"It's a tool to get the shots that you normally couldn't." says Dieble.
D &N Cinematics has been in the drone game for awhile.
They've tested out several models over the years, although they might not call their equipment a "drone".
"I mean it's such a buzzword right now, technically we have a remote-control helicopter that has a camera on it, it's not a drone..." says Dieble.
The topic of drones is buzzing all around the world.
In the past week the White House was questioned about drone strikes, a World Ag expo in California featured new hi-tech products offering farmers a bird's eye view of their crops, Amazon Prime is delayed from delivering packages until FAA rules are in place, which could be as early as 2015.
In North Dakota, Grand Forks was recently chosen to be one of six test sites for unmanned aerial surveillance in the country.
Selection that could mean hundreds of more jobs in the state.
"I don't think economics should ever trump civil liberties, but that's the way it went." says Rep. Rick Becker, (R) District 7.
Representative Rick Becker introduced a bill last legislative session to regulate drone use, specifically for law enforcement.
"The aspect of the bill was really quite simple, and it simply said, if law enforcement is going to do surveillance on citizens they have to have a search warrant." says Becker.
The bill passed in the House, but not in the Senate.
The first case of drone enforcement happened near the Grand Forks area, when a predator drone helped with the arrest of a an entire family, accused of theft and terrorizing.
"One of the things I had heard is well let's wait for it to be a problem before we do anything, and I don't think that's a very proactive approach." says Becker.
Everyone can agree the drone technology is continually advancing.
Becker says he doesn't ever want to see drones become weaponized or impede on constitutional rights.
"That's one of the reasons the legislature is around is to make sure civil liberties are enforced." says Becker.
His concern is not so much with private citizens like D &N Cinematics.
The owner of the production company says if people knew what they did with their so-called drone, they would not be afraid, but excited.
"I guess we're kind of happy because we feel like we got a jump on it, we've been trying this out for a couple years now, had the idea for awhile, so yeah we're excited to move into the future and use it for different things." Dave Dieble.
D &N Cinematics chooses to only operate their drone or helicopter when it is within line of sight.