How to deal with snooty cops ??

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Well it finally happened to me --- got pulled over by a cop in a local park after flying my Phantom 3 Pro.

I flew over a dog park located next to the park and a couple complained that I was flying too low and "harassing" the dogs. I respect everyone's right to enjoy the park as much as I do so I always keep my Phantom at least 50 ft. above their heads. However, this couple had some young Huskies that were very interested in my P3P and chased it around the dog park like enthusiastic curious animals often do.

So I get the flashing lights in my rearview mirror and the cop asks me if I was flying a drone over the dog park and I replied "yes, I was" and then he proceeds to inform me I was harassing a couple and their dogs, even though the cop didnt actually witness my drone at all. I calmly replied "Officer, I dont harass people with my drone and I have video footage to prove I was at least 50 ft. above their heads at all times". I then went on to explain that the very term "harassment" is a subjective opinion --- one person might think a drone flying 400 ft. over their head is "harassment" but that doesnt make it an objective fact. The cop seemed to somewhat agree with me but then told me there is a big sign at the entrance to the park saying "drones are prohibited". I read the sign when I entered the park and it said no such thing, but later that night I looked at the county government website and it did state "RC equipment is prohibited from all county parks". So therefore, I would've lost the fight if he gave me a ticket, but luckily he just gave me a warning and let me go. :D

Just curious --- has anyone fought a similar situation in local district court and won? I almost wanted the cop to write me a ticket so I could go to court and see if I could convince a District Magistrate to agree with me that peacefully flying a drone 50 ft. above somebody's head is not "harassment".
 
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Well it finally happened to me --- got pulled over by a cop in a local park after flying my Phantom 3 Pro.

I flew over a dog park located next to the park and a couple complained that I was flying too low and "harassing" the dogs. I respect everyone's right to enjoy the park as much as I do so I always keep my Phantom at least 50 ft. above their heads. However, this couple had some young Huskies that were very interested in my P3P and chased it around the dog park like enthusiastic curious animals often do.

So I get the flashing lights in my rearview mirror and the cop asks me if I was flying a drone over the dog park and I replied "yes, I was" and then he proceeds to inform me I was harassing a couple and their dogs, even though the cop didnt actually witness my drone at all. I calmly replied "Officer, I dont harass people with my drone and I have video footage to prove I was at least 50 ft. above their heads at all times". I then went on to explain that the very term "harassment" is a subjective opinion --- one person might think a drone flying 400 ft. over their head is "harassment" but that doesnt make it an objective fact. The cop seemed to somewhat agree with me but then told me there is a big sign at the entrance to the park saying "drones are prohibited". I read the sign when I entered the park and it said no such thing, but later that night I looked at the county government website and it did state "RC equipment is prohibited from all county parks". So therefore, I would've lost the fight if he gave me a ticket, but luckily he just gave me a warning and let me go. :D

Just curious --- has anyone fought a similar situation in local district court and won? I almost wanted the cop to write me a ticket so I could go to court and see if I could convince a District Magistrate to agree with me that peacefully flying a drone 50 ft. above somebody's head is not "harassment".
You had no business flying over people at that height or any height for that matter. Quads are not planes that can be controlled when they lose power and glide to a safe area. They can just fall.
 
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I doubt if you will win in court if the city or county has some "No drone" ordinance in place. I got a notice in the mail with the city code number about them being banned in parks (It was in the "Enjoy our Parks" flyer sent to everyone, but the "No drones" ordinance was in there too.). You could argue that you took off elsewhere, but so much 'elsewhere' is owned by someone so you'd likely need permission from Mr. & Mrs. Elsewhere too.

The harassment thing may be secondary to the above. If fought, no telling how the judge will view it. If he hates drones, then you are toast there too. Just having a camera out in public can stir the pot enough with some people to call the cops. The CA State Parks allows drones, but only on the call of the head ranger who may say a drone is harassing the wildlife, or some public safety concerns if too crowded and ban them so best to ask there first.

Better luck next time.
 
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You had no business flying over people at that height or any height for that matter. Quads are not planes that can be controlled when they lose power and glide to a safe area. They can just fall.
Your argument doesnt hold weight for the simple fact that ANY machine can fail and cause injury to nearby people --- not just drones.

What happens if some guy is mowing his lawn near a public sidewalk and the blade throws out a rock at 60 MPH and it hits somebody in the face? Does that mean all lawn mowers should be banned from being within 200 feet of a public area?

Gotta use your head when dealing with sensitive issues like this. Our hobby is at stake.
 
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The harassment thing may be secondary to the above. If fought, no telling how the judge will view it. If he hates drones, then you are toast there too. Just having a camera out in public can stir the pot enough with some people to call the cops. The CA State Parks allows drones, but only on the call of the head ranger who may say a drone is harassing the wildlife, or some public safety concerns if too crowded and ban them so best to ask there first.
I knew I would ultimately lose in court because of the prohibition of RC equipment in county parks --- but I mostly just wanted to hear a rational-thinking magistrate to agree with me that flying a 2-lb. plastic toy over somebody's head is not "harassment". I dont own a dog and don't particularly care for them --- so do I have the right to say somebody is harassing me if their mutt starts barking at me from 30 feet away? I would think the same standard should apply to everyone.
 
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My regular flying area is a relatively deserted bay and coastline,however it is popular with dog walkers. I always try and avoid flying over the dogs, but sometimes they will run and chase after the aircraft, they can get very excited/agitated.
Often when I am packing up I see the dog owner, and usually say "Sorry if I disturbed your dog", the answer has always been positive, they usually say it is not a problem, and their dog often goes crazy down on the beach, chasing anything that moves.
This area also has a few Horse riders, I never fly if there are Horses about,I just go home,which is only 200 yards away, and come back when they are gone.
I have never had a negative response, in fact quite the opposite, people just want to talk to me and ask questions, and thank me when they leave.
Hope I stay lucky.
 
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Doesn't sound like the cop was snooty at all.....you were in the wrong, and you're lucky he let you off with a warning.
He seemed like a reasonable guy, and that's why I didnt go off on him. He even said something like "I wish I had a drone" but then followed it up with "if I saw one in my backyard I would shoot it out of the sky with my shotgun". I wanted to reply with "well my Phantom costs $1300 and that is considered felony vandalism in most states and you can do a year in prison" but I bit my lip and just smiled at him. Gotta know how to deal with these Barney Fife cops and feed their inflated egos LOL.
 
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My regular flying area is a relatively deserted bay and coastline,however it is popular with dog walkers. I always try and avoid flying over the dogs, but sometimes they will run and chase after the aircraft, they can get very excited/agitated.
Often when I am packing up I see the dog owner, and usually say "Sorry if I disturbed your dog", the answer has always been positive, they usually say it is not a problem, and their dog often goes crazy down on the beach, chasing anything that moves.
This area also has a few Horse riders, I never fly if there are Horses about,I just go home,which is only 200 yards away, and come back when they are gone.
I have never had a negative response, in fact quite the opposite, people just want to talk to me and ask questions, and thank me when they leave.
Hope I stay lucky.
That is the way I approach flying around people and animals as well. If this couple at the dog park approached me and said "your drone was causing our dogs to get really agitated" then I would've said "sorry about that" and not flown over them anymore.

Sadly, we got this crybaby mentality in society these days where you run to the cops to solve all the problems in life. Quite sad, really --- and it spells doom for our culture if we have so many spineless cowards amongst us who dont know how to resolve problems like adults.
 
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Just curious --- has anyone fought a similar situation in local district court and won? I almost wanted the cop to write me a ticket so I could go to court and see if I could convince a District Magistrate to agree with me that peacefully flying a drone 50 ft. above somebody's head is not "harassment".
What's to fight? Flying a drone in a county park in your jurisdiction is illegal. You'd be wasting the Court's time, and yours.

"Barney Fife cop"? Dude, I gotta say, by your own description, you're the one with the attitude problem. You were the one who was breaking the law. The cop who was doing his job.
 
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"Barney Fife cop"? Dude, I gotta say, by your own description, you're the one with the attitude problem. You were the one who was breaking the law. The cop who was doing his job.
Cops exist to enforce the law and not make commentary or editorializing about societal issues. He could have simply walked up to my car and said "Drones are prohibited in all county parks but I'm going to let you go with just a warning" and then walked away. Instead he chose to stick out his chest and give me a little lecture about his opinions on drones. Totally unprofessional and even a borderline ethical violation on his part. I would love to drag him into a classroom and debate him about the rights of drone flyers and even defining legal terms like "harassment" and then see how tough he is without that gun on his hip! :p
 
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Your argument doesnt hold weight for the simple fact that ANY machine can fail and cause injury to nearby people --- not just drones.

What happens if some guy is mowing his lawn near a public sidewalk and the blade throws out a rock at 60 MPH and it hits somebody in the face? Does that mean all lawn mowers should be banned from being within 200 feet of a public area?

Gotta use your head when dealing with sensitive issues like this. Our hobby is at stake.
You made my point. Any flying thing can fail...so with that thought why would you fly fifty feet over someone. Mowers have deflectors on the chute but many bypass that or they are missing. No excuse.
 
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You made my point. Any flying thing can fail...so with that thought why would you fly fifty feet over someone. Mowers have deflectors on the chute but many bypass that or they are missing. No excuse.
So if anything flying can fail --- why not ban all airplanes and helicopters? They would cause a lot more injury to people they fly over if they suddenly had a malfunction and crash.

Since your logic is so solid --- go ahead and ban baseball from being played in public parks --- errant pitches and flying bats have seriously injured and killed spectators --- look up "Fenway Park bat injury 2015" on Google for proof. :p

Even if a Phantom fell out of the sky at 50 feet --- it's props stopped spinning and then a 2-lb. plastic toy is bouncing off somebody's head. Maybe a slight bruise and a Band-Aid but that's the extent of the injuries.

I've flown my Phantom 2 Vision+ and P3P at least 1200 times in aggregate and not a single time have they suddenly dropped out of the sky like a rock. So your argument holds no credible sway in a rational discussion about drone safety.
 
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So if anything flying can fail --- why not ban all airplanes and helicopters? They would cause a lot more injury to people they fly over.

Since your logic is so solid --- go ahead and ban baseball from being played in public parks --- errant pitches and flying bats have actually seriously injured and killed spectators.

I've flown my Phantom 2 Vision+ and P3P at least 1200 times in aggregate and not a single time have they suddenly dropped out of the sky like a rock. So your argument holds no credible sway in a rational discussion about drone safety.
Now you are just making up stupid crap. Although drones may fail and fall from sky.. they seem to be more reliable than your judgement.
 
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As others have said, you needed to maintain 98 feet as your minimum distance to people and to avoid flying directly over them. I would have stayed well clear of the area at the first indication of the dogs barking.
 
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