Will drones make live events safer in Illinois?

October 2018

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Illinois lawmakers have proposed an interesting new solution to the risk of a mass shooting similar to the one that happened in Las Vegas last year. The new proposal for large-scale events would allow drones to be used to  supervise events. This would include music festivals, state fairs, and concerts and  events held in arenas or stadiums.

During a Senate debate, Senator Martin Sandoval, the lead sponsor, said more needs to be done to protect people at large-venue events saying “It’s our responsibility to provide the maximum protection of all the residents of Illinois – whether it’s at Lollapalooza, or at the Illinois State Fair this year,”

The measure provides that the police would need to provide a legitimate reason to use drones at a particular event attended by more than 100 persons. These crones would be used to evaluate anything from crowd size, density, or movement and to identify any criminal activity or security vulnerabilities.

There are some critics of the plan as it stands.  State Senator Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat,  said that whilst he acknowledges the need for added security at such events, he was concerned about privacy. He said a “legitimate reason” is too broad and leaves room for misuse, saying he feared drones could be used with “no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

Proponents say Boston and other cities now use drones for security purposes. The House will consider the proposal in the coming weeks.

http://northernpublicradio.org/post/senate-approves-use-drones-music-events-state-fairs

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