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Moline Police Drone Will Watch Over Weekend Festival

City of Moline

Thanks to a new state law, Moline police will be able to use a drone to monitor this weekend's festival, Mo.Live.

one of the drones used by the Moline Police Department
City of Moline
one of the drones used by the Moline Police Department

Police Chief Darren Gault says law enforcement in Illinois can now use drones during parades and festivals, and as first responders.

"Meaning that if a 911 call came in a police officer could deploy a drone as a first responder to locate or assist victims, identify offenders, or guide emergency response."

Moline police have used drones six times since the new law was signed in June.

"So we did use a drone in the propane fire and explosion on 5th Avenue a couple of months ago. We've also used it for a couple of incidents involving firearms where an individual was alleged to have a firearm and was down in an area that was difficult to get to."

The previous law prohibited law enforcement in Illinois from using drones during parades and festivals. But it was changed following the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois last year, where the shooter fired from the roof of a building onto a July 4th parade.

The new law requires a 24-hour notice to the public if police are going to use a drone. Operators have to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.