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Drone Policy

Authority: Student Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted July 30, 2017; Revised August 9, 2021

Policy

McNeese State University Police will monitor and respond to drone usage over University property and facilities.

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.

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.

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.

  • Safety is of the upmost importance for those on the ground in the area of where the aircraft is to be flown.
  • 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

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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

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 policy is distributed via the Administrative Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage.