Paul Cline, Grand Forks, N.D. letters: In ‘dollars vs. liberties,’ don’t let dollars winPaul Cline writes in about unmanned aircraft systems and the role of money in legislature
By: Paul Cline, Grand Forks Herald
GRAND FORKS — This letter is in response to Bruce Gjovig’s column about unmanned aircraft systems (“Don’t strap tie-downs on N.D.’s chance to soar,” Page A4, March 12).
I was flabbergasted. I do not believe Gjovig could be more wrong if he woke up in the morning with the sole intention of falling short of the mark on this issue.
This is not an issue of Grand Fork’s willingness and ability to be one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS testing sites. It is an issue of civil liberties and the constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
I have a master’s degree in Aviation from UND. We discussed this issue extensively and in a variety of settings. Every state is dealing with how to incorporate UAS into their crime fighting arsenal. In this respect, North Dakota is not unique.
Additionally, nowhere in the FAA’s search criteria does it mention a state’s willingness or unwillingness to use UAV for law enforcement. It simply is not an issue the agency is looking at as it makes its decision regarding the testing centers.
Gjovig contends that limiting the use of UAV in law enforcement would send the wrong message to the FAA. His assertions simply are not supported by the facts. By rejecting the legislation on these grounds, we send the message that in North Dakota, civil liberties are paramount — except when federal dollars are involved; in which case, we are more than happy to exchange our freedoms for continued access to the government’s trough.
That is not a message I support.