"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
Monroe's City Council recently authorized its Police Department to buy a "mini-drone."
This unmanned aircraft, they said, would be used to help track fleeing suspects or otherwise assist police investigations.
After further review, they've now decided to cancel that purchase.
We agree with their decision. But the very idea of a mini-drone does raise some questions.
First and foremost are the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens.
Police assure us a drone will only be used in targeted situations – no general surveillance.
And that may be true, for now.
But how long will it be before the drone becomes "proactive" – seeking to stop crimes before they happen?
And from there does the drone zero-in on groups of five or six friends who "might be a gang looking to cause trouble"?
Look, we're not naïve.
With cell phone cameras, satellite imaging, and "Google Maps" trucks driving around, there's not much expectation of privacy anymore.
But somehow a police camera trained on us from above feels a little different.
We think that at the least, these drone cameras should be subjected to search warrant requirements which govern their use on a case-by-case basis.
It all comes down to what type of society we want to have.
Are we okay with the state seeing and recording everyone's business?
Or are we still a little concerned about "Big Brother" watching us?
It does merit some thought.
Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.