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Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized UAS Operations

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Citation Edit

Federal Aviation Administration, Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized UAS Operations (Jan. 8, 2015) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This guidance was issued to the law enforcement community to explain the legal framework for the FAA's oversight of aviation safety in the United States, including UAS operations. The guidance describes how UAS and model aircraft can be operated legally, and the options for legal enforcement actions against unauthorized or unsafe UAS operators. The document also discusses the law enforcement community's vital role in deterring, detecting and investigating unsafe operations.

State and local police are often in the best position to immediately investigate unauthorized UAS operations, and as appropriate, to stop them. The document explains how first responders and others can provide invaluable assistance to the FAA by:

  • Identifying potential witnesses and conducting initial interviews
  • Contacting the suspected operators of the UAS or model aircraft
  • Viewing and recording the location of the event
  • Collecting evidence
  • Identifying if the UAS operation was in a sensitive location, event or activity
  • Notifying one of the FAA's Regional Operation Centers about the operation as soon as possible

The FAA's goal is to promote voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws, but the guidance makes clear the agency's authority to pursue legal enforcement action against persons who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System.

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