Unmanned aerial systems or drones are a hot topic these days and the Spokane City Council is now looking to establish some drone regulations of its own after seeing what happened to its neighbor to the west, Seattle.
In Seattle, the police department started using drones inside the city limits. Residents were surprised and outraged that they weren't completely informed what law enforcement was doing. That is what Spokane hopes to avoid.
Either way, the drones are coming. They are remote controlled, camera equipped and very accessible.
"I don't want to be sitting in my backyard and see a drone flying overhead. There's got to be some public dialogue," said Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart.
Stuckart wants an ordinance that city departments follow strict regulations when incorporating the use of drones.
"They have to have a plan in place, they have to do public outreach and then the city council has to approve it," said Stuckart.
Stuckart has even talked to the police chief about using them.
"He sees it as a reality of police forces in 5-10 years. But this will just put that process in place," said Stuckart.
Jason Lucas with Fly Pro Media and the National Association for Drone Safety and Ethics utilizes one of the more expensive quad-copter systems. He thinks that timeline is more like three years.
"Even the law enforcement folks, everyone is training people and getting there programs ready because it's gonna happen in a really big way really soon," said Lucas.
The FAA is developing laws that will go into effect in 2015. Right now there are current regulations on where you can and can't fly drones, which Lucas says is needed.
"Anybody can have one by Tuesday, put up a website by Wednesday and be flying over an RV park in Spokane or wherever they want," said Lucas.
Part of the regulations are for safety.
"Right now there is now way to certify and qualify people who fly drones," said Lucas.
The other part for privacy and overall familiarity with the technology and how it will be incorporated into everyday use.
"Again, I think that's why Mr. Stuckart is looking at putting rules into place so people don't get freaked out," said Lucas.
"We were just talking about search and rescue. I think that would be a great application," said Stuckart.
The FAA says you're not allowed to make money from flying a drone.
The proposed ordinance by Stuckart would only apply to city departments. The proposal will be discussed by city council on July 29, with a possible vote scheduled for August 6.