Notorious anti-immigration Arizona sheriff wants fleet of drones

Topic of the Day

Notorious anti-immigration Arizona sheriff wants fleet of drones

Posted: Updated:

(RT) - Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the controversial lawman from Maricopa County, Arizona, is interested in adding drones to his arsenal.

Arpaio, 81, has made headlines before over his vehement stance against immigration and his thoughts about United States President Barack Obama. Now he's in the news again, and this time because he wants to bring unmanned aerial vehicles to Maricopa County to protect its almost 4-million residents.

"I want two of these drones, unmanned and of course unarmed," Arpaio told local network ABC15.

The US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation already have drones on the ready that can be deployed during emergency situations, and dozens of small law enforcement agencies and organizations as of late have applied for permits to control unmanned aerial vehicles in a limited airspace. Now Arpaio wants Maricopa County to be on the list of locales cleared for drone use in certain situations, and he's hoping an eye-in-the-sky surveillance tool will help stop crime and catch criminals.

Arpaio told the ABC affiliate that he was hoping to conduct "Surveillance regarding crime scenes and drugs [and] catching dope peddlers," and explained, "sometimes it's difficult to get to these areas but if you have this great equipment to take pictures it would help." 

"These are good, useful tools," he said.

The sheriff also said he'd also like to start by putting drones directly over local prisons in order to keep an eye on unruly inmates, and acknowledged, "We do have some small problems with people throwing drugs over the fence." Hovering drones overhead, Arpaio said, would likely deter criminals from engaging in this behavior.

Arpaio also suggested investing the money made from catching drug peddlers into the drone program, allowing the program to essentially fund itself.

"Isn't it great? It would be the criminals buying these to arrest more criminals," said Arpaio. 

As for acquiring an UAV system, though, Arpaio said it might be easier said than done.

"I hope to get this done pretty quickly, I don't like procrastination, especially bureaucracy," said Arpaio. 

Earlier this year, Pres. Obama signed the Federal Aviation Administration's Modernization and Reform Act, paving the way for widespread drone use to soon be rampant in US airspace. The FAA expects that as many as 30,000 non-military UAVs will fly through US sky by the end of the decade.

Oddly enough, Obama's authorization of that FAA bill may likely be the only thing the president's done as of late that Sheriff Arpaio is in favor of. The lawman previously helped wage a campaign to investigate the president's birth certificate, and Arpaio has been an adamant opponent of the administration's efforts with regards to immigration. Speaking to ABC15, Arpaio said he'd be interested in using unmanned drones to spy on drug peddlers coming in from the nearby US border with Mexico.

"No, we may use them go find dope peddlers coming into the United States, we make many drug seizures, we're only 70 miles from the border," said Arpaio. "But we are not going out to look at people coming into our country thinking they may be here illegally."

Earlier this year, Judge G. Murray Snow of the US District Court ruled that Arpaio's office unlawfully targeted Latinos during law enforcement operations and "incorporated race as a consideration."

  • Email Alert Sign Up

    Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.

    * denotes required fields


    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Go to KSWT-TV's Facebook page
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • National

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Web Producer: Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor WASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits willMore >>
    Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government's borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation's debt and spending.More >>
  • Your aging eyes

    Your aging eyes

    As more Americans head toward retirement and beyond, scientists expect the number of people with age-related eye problems to rise dramatically. But you can take steps to ensure you minimize those problems.More >>
  • Mercury rising

    Mercury rising

    Living in the southwest, warm temps are just part of life; but, lately as the mercury begins to rise it has proven to be too much for some. Emergency crews have been called out fordehydrations calls and area utilities have recorded larger than normal power uses. Some companies have opened their doors offering passer by’s a cool zone and even the Salvation Army has scoured the city looking for people in aide to help them get hydrated and get some shelter from the sun.More >>
    Living in the southwest, warm temps are just part of life; but, lately as the mercury begins to rise it has proven to be too much for some. Emergency crews have been called out fordehydrations calls and area utilities have recorded larger than normal power uses. Some companies have opened their doors offering passer by’s a cool zone and even the Salvation Army has scoured the city looking for people in aide to help them get hydrated and get some shelter from the sun.More >>
  • Resort fires 3 after pool water dumped in S. Tahoe

    Resort fires 3 after pool water dumped in S. Tahoe

    Officials at a South Lake Tahoe resort say they fired three employees who improperly drained about 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of chlorinated pool water into a stormwater basin.More >>
    Officials at a South Lake Tahoe resort say they fired three employees who improperly drained about 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of chlorinated pool water into a stormwater basin.More >>
  • Coming soon...Wal-Mart

    Coming soon...Wal-Mart

    On Wednesday the Yuma City Council voted to change the zoning designation on the proposed land acquired by Wal-Mart. The property located near the intersection of Avenue B and 8th Street was the home of a mobile home park as zones for residential use; the new designation changes that to mixed which will allow the new store to move in to the property. The new store will be the fifth Wal-Mart for Yuma County.More >>
    On Wednesday the Yuma City Council voted to change the zoning designation on the proposed land acquired by Wal-Mart. The property located near the intersection of Avenue B and 8th Street was the home of a mobile home park as zones for residential use; the new designation changes that to mixed which will allow the new store to move in to the property. The new store will be the fifth Wal-Mart for Yuma County.More >>
  • Father beats accused child abuser, Daytona police say

    Father beats accused child abuser, Daytona police say

    Police say a Daytona Beach father beat an 18-year-old man unconscious after finding him sexually abusing his son. Authorities say the father called 911 early Friday after he walked in on the alleged abuse.Frolander motionless on the living room floor. He had several knots on his face and was bleeding from the mouth. Police said the father -- who was not identified -- told investigators he walked in as Frolander was abusing the boy. Police did not release the boy's age, but Frolander is charge...More >>
    Police say a Daytona Beach father beat an 18-year-old man unconscious after finding him sexually abusing his son. Authorities say the father called 911 early Friday after he walked in on the alleged abuse.Frolander motionless on the living room floor. He had several knots on his face and was bleeding from the mouth. Police said the father -- who was not identified -- told investigators he walked in as Frolander was abusing the boy. Police did not release the boy's age, but Frolander is charge...More >>
  • "Graying" Population of Infertility Patients Brings New Challenges to Medical Practice and Society, Study at Center for Human Reproduction Finds

    "Graying" Population of Infertility Patients Brings New Challenges to Medical Practice and Society, Study at Center for Human Reproduction Finds

    As women seek fertility treatment later and later in life, even in their 50s, medical practice and society at large face new challenges, according to a new study...More >>
    As women seek fertility treatment later and later in life, even in their 50s, medical practice and society at large face new challenges, according to a new study published...More >>
  • Online Holiday Shopping

    Online Holiday Shopping

    Doesn’t online shopping sound rather serene this season, given gas prices and the feel-good knowledge that fewer mall trips can help the environment? What’s more, online shopping alleviates holiday shoppingMore >>