Drones cause concern for privacy in Vernon Parish

Drones cause concern for privacy in Vernon Parish

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Are you a frequent drone flyer? Do you know the FAA laws in place for those who own and operate drones?

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office said as these unmanned aircraft become more and more popular and affordable, they’re getting more complaints of people concerned for their privacy.

“You cannot fly them at night; you have to maintain a visual sight of the drone at all times. It can never leave your sight," Detective David Vance with the Vernon Parish sheriff’s office said. "You can fly no higher than 400 feet, because it is considered an aircraft, there’s larger aircraft out there and we don’t want to interrupt their airspace.”

One drone pilot in the Leesville area, Hunter Small, takes flying very seriously, and takes all safety precautions before taking off.

“I make sure the batteries are charged, I check the rotors, I check the propellers; if there’s any nicks or anything, if it’s too windy,” Small said.

In a recent Facebook post on the sheriff’s department’s page, they say those who live in the parish were concerned about peeping toms. For Small, flying drones is not about spying on his neighbors.

“If I go on a little vacation and take the kids somewhere where there’s a lot of nice stuff, you know, like any other family vacation video—so you can look back on it,” he said.

However, if used illegally, Vance said you could be arrested for breaking Louisiana laws.

“Some of them is video voyeurism, criminal trespassing, peeping tom. Be aware that there’s going to be more that come down as drones become more prevalent. There’s going to be more laws enacted on that,” Vance said.

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office said they take drone complaints very seriously and plan to follow up on each one they receive.

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