Before a police department purchases a drone, officials are often forced to confront questions about privacy, public safety and the legal limits of government intrusion.
In South Padre Island, Tex., law enforcement officials faced an additional question before the department bought two drones ahead of this year’s influx of spring break revelers:
“How high can someone realistically chuck a can of beer?”
The answer, according to South Padre Island town spokesman Gary Ainsworth: probably a lot less than 250 feet, the height at which the department’s drones will hover above local beaches when as many as 75,000 college kids on spring break swarm the barrier-island town, which has fewer than 3,000 permanent residents.
“That’s just something you have to expect when you have that many people letting loose on a beach and they notice a robot hovering over them,” Ainsworth told The Washington Post. “I probably would have tried to knock one out of the sky with a beer can when I was in college.”