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Drone Policy

Drone Policy

Authority: 
President
Date enacted or revised: 
Enacted July 30, 2017


I. POLICY
 
McNeese State University Police will monitor and respond to drone usage over University property and facilities.
 
II. PURPOSE
 
This policy gives the McNeese State University Police the authority to control the air space, safety, and privacy of people in the area of a drone or unmanned aircraft system on or near University property or facilities.
 
III. DEFINITIONS
 
Drone - An unmanned aircraft system (UAS), often times called a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard – instead, the UAS is controlled by an operator from a remote location with radio frequency transmissions.
 
IV. PROCEDURE 
 
Those wishing to use a drone for purposes not related to academics or athletics must contact the Chief of Police or his/her designee to obtain authorization to use the system on or over University property or airspace prior to use.
 
A.    Safety is of the upmost importance for those on the ground in the area of where the aircraft is to be flown.
B.    The privacy of those in the area where the aircraft is to be flown shall not be infringed. Drones must not violate the space where unsuspecting inhabitants may be, or where a higher expectation of privacy exists.
 
Flight Plan, Date, Time, and Duration of Flight
 
A.    Prior to the use of the drone, the person seeking authorization must file a request with the Chief of Police, or his/her designee. This request should include a flight plan showing the area the drone is to be flown, the estimated height of flight at its highest point, and the date, time, and anticipated duration of the flight. The flight plan should also include plans to ensure the safety of ground occupants.
B.    Faculty or staff who plan to utilize a drone as a part of an academic or athletic activity are not required to obtain advanced permission or provide a flight plan, but they shall make University Police aware of its use before the drone is airborne.
C.    The Chief of Police will review the request and either grant or deny authorization. Primary considerations will be the safety and privacy of those on the ground.
D.    University-owned or contracted drones are also required to provide the same level of notification, unless they will be utilized for academic or athletic purposes.
 
Flight plan information will be forwarded to the Dispatch Center and shared with staff at briefings to ensure policing staff is aware of any authorized drone flights.


Violators and Investigations
 
If a drone is sighted on or over University property, University Policy will dispatch a police officer. The officer will contact the drone’s operator to determine any flight plan information and other data about the intent of the operator and the safety of the drone.
 
All drone reports will be documented with a police report.
 
University Police drones or other law enforcement drones which have been authorized by the University Police are exempt from regulation.
 
V.  STATUTES
 
To view current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulations go to:
https://www.faa.gov/uas/
 
LRS 14:337 - Unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system
 
A. Unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system is the intentional use of an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record a targeted facility without the prior written consent of the owner of the targeted facility.
 
B. As used in this Section, the following definitions shall apply:
 
(1) "Federal government" means the United States of America and any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof.
(2) "State government" means the state of Louisiana and any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including University Property.
(3) "Targeted facility" means the following systems:
 
(a) Petroleum and alumina refineries.
(b) Chemical and rubber manufacturing facilities.
(c) Nuclear power electric generation facilities.
 
(4) "Unmanned aircraft system" means an unmanned, powered aircraft that does not carry a human operator, can be autonomous or remotely piloted or operated, and can be expendable or recoverable. "Unmanned aircraft system" does not include any of the following:
 
(a) A satellite orbiting the earth.
(b) An unmanned aircraft system used by the federal government or a person who is acting pursuant to contract with the federal government to conduct surveillance of specific activities.
(c) An unmanned aircraft system used by the state government or a person who is acting pursuant to a contract with the state government to conduct surveillance of specific activities.
(d) An unmanned aircraft system used by a local government law enforcement agency or fire department.

C.(1) Nothing in this Section shall prohibit a person from using an unmanned aircraft system to conduct surveillance of, gather evidence or collect information about, or photographically or electronically record his own property that is either of the following:
 
(a) Located on his own immovable property.
(b) Located on immovable property owned by another under a valid lease, servitude, right-of-way, right of use, permit, license, or other right.
 
(2) Third persons retained by the owner of the property described in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection shall not be prohibited under this Section from using an unmanned aircraft system to conduct activities described in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection.
 
D. The provisions of this Section shall apply unless preempted by applicable federal law or by regulations adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
 
E.(1) Whoever commits the crime of unlawful use of an unmanned aircraft system shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
 
(2) On a conviction for a second or subsequent offense, the offender shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than two thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than six months nor more than one year, or both.
 
F. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to unmanned aircraft systems used for motion picture, television, or similar production where the filming is authorized by the property owner.
  
This procedure is exempt from release under both the Federal Freedom of Information Act as well as the Louisiana Public Records Law exemptions covering police operations and tactical responses.  Requests for release of this procedure are to be immediately routed to the McNeese State University Chief of Police.
 
Communication

This information is communicated through the Academic Advisory Committee and the University Policy Page.