- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - An ordinance that has been narrowly approved will allow police to interfere with drone operation in Lincoln.

The Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1VA2cNH ) reports that the City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to approve the ordinance, which will allow Lincoln police to stop drone operators who are flying recklessly, outside of operators’ line of sight or without proper registration and markings.

The city’s Airport Authority had asked for a city ordinance to restrain drone activity during a major airshow scheduled in May.

Dissenting City Council members Cyndi Lamm and Roy Christensen said the ordinance is a case of over-regulation because drones are already regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lamm said hobby operators had concerns about the ordinance, which mirrors drafted FAA rules.

“We are just assigning our officers something else to do,” she said. “I have some real reservations about this ordinance.”

The Lincoln ordinance prohibits flying above 400 feet, which is just a guideline under the FAA rules, said Chad Budreau, a spokesman with the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a national hobbyist organization.

Airport Authority staff said that the FAA isn’t capable of reacting to problems quickly.

Christensen suggested that police use other city laws to stop anyone flying a drone in an unsafe manner or by the airport. City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said that police might be able to use disturbing the peace or public nuisance ordinances to do so.

But Councilwoman Jane Raybould said the local drone ordinance would provide more oversight and give law enforcement the ability to interfere in unsafe situations.

Violating Lincoln’s drone ordinance would be an infraction, with a $100 fine for the first offense.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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