Illinois Legislature Discusses Amendment to Allow Law Enforcement Agencies to Deploy Drones for Crowd Monitoring


Since 2014 Illinois’ “Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act” has long been a source of anxiety for law enforcement agencies launching drone programs. Fortunately, it may be about to change. The act, which initially required officers intending to use drones to collect any data to first obtain a search warrant is pending an amendment proposed by Sen. Martin Sandoval. The amendment would add “Crowd Monitoring” to a list of exempt drone operations that would not require a warrant. A list that includes other narrowly scoped items such as a missing persons search, accident investigation, or any disaster formally declared by  the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The proposed amendment would allow Law Enforcement agencies to also conduct crowd monitoring drone operations without a search warrant whenever the crowd size exceeds 1,500 persons. Track the amendment’s progress here.