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Harassed in PA

skidrose

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Location
NW Pa
Greetings from NW Pennsylvania. I've been a recreational flyer for about 5 years now and own several drones. We live in a rural area and I fly mostly out of my backyard. In the past 2 weeks I have been visited by the PA State Police twice concerning my drones. It seems I have been hovering at some ones window and even entered their barn with my drone. This person provided my name to the officers (I assume they got it from my mailbox) and has decided that it must be me because they have seen me operating a drone in my yard. I informed the officers that if necessary I can show him my flight logs to prove it wasn't however I am getting tired of being guilty by 'association' and they better have proof that it is me if they visit again. How many other pilots have experienced this kind of harassment from their neighbors and law enforcement?
 
Has never happened to me and I don't expect it primarily because I don't fly from home; understand why you do since you live rural. Anyway, never talk to police when they come calling with questions. I guess it's ok to answer a few questions to dispel their fears but I would never offer to show my logs on site.

Not trying to be dramatic but just remember, the third time the police could get "fed up" and decide to arrest you and take your drone. Anything from trespassing to harassment to invasion of privacy to a stretch which is disorderly conduct or stalking or video voyerism. That's the world we drone pilots live in; I understand it's rare but it is a possibility. Any charge will likely be dropped but we shouldn't have to go thru all that.
 
Has never happened to me and I don't expect it primarily because I don't fly from home; understand why you do since you live rural. Anyway, never talk to police when they come calling with questions. I guess it's ok to answer a few questions to dispel their fears but I would never offer to show my logs on site.

Not trying to be dramatic but just remember, the third time the police could get "fed up" and decide to arrest you and take your drone. Anything from trespassing to harassment to invasion of privacy to a stretch which is disorderly conduct or stalking or video voyerism. That's the world we drone pilots live in; I understand it's rare but it is a possibility. Any charge will likely be dropped but we shouldn't have to go thru all that.

How many documented cases are there of an arrest being made in such circumstances, or even cases of detention without charges?

Yes, it's possible that the police could get fed up, arrest me, and confiscate my drone based on a neighbor's false reports. But winning the lottery is also possible. Neither one is going to cause me to lose any sleep.

@skidrose, it might be time to discuss the neighbor's unsupported reports with the police. A positive conversation with a management-level officer at the police station might be a good way to save the police and yourself the frustration and waste of time from spurious reports. You might want to make a backup copy of your flight records in the very unlikely event you need to show that you weren't involved with that neighbor's complaints.
 
If you are being harassed by the same neighbor. I would remind the Police what you are doing is perfectly legal and your neighbors calling the police on you( more than once) is a misuse of public service, and is a crime.
I would also nicely remind the Police dept. -That if they continue to waste manpower on this neighbors repeated and unnecessary calls They MUST go to court and show cause. Otherwise you would prefer to fly alone BUT don't forget to thank them for their Service.
 
Greetings from NW Pennsylvania. I've been a recreational flyer for about 5 years now and own several drones. We live in a rural area and I fly mostly out of my backyard. In the past 2 weeks I have been visited by the PA State Police twice concerning my drones. It seems I have been hovering at some ones window and even entered their barn with my drone. This person provided my name to the officers (I assume they got it from my mailbox) and has decided that it must be me because they have seen me operating a drone in my yard. I informed the officers that if necessary I can show him my flight logs to prove it wasn't however I am getting tired of being guilty by 'association' and they better have proof that it is me if they visit again. How many other pilots have experienced this kind of harassment from their neighbors and law enforcement?
I wouldn't get uppity with the cops.
Just ask them, there and then, for the date and time of the offending flight/s then show them the flight history in the App.
Unfortunately the list visible in the app shows only dates but the replay of any particular flight shows the date & time stamp and the route flown.
If it really got nasty, the the .txt flight logs records the number of the corresponding .DAT log, that number increment by one at each drone switch on. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE NUMBERING OF THE .DAT i.e. you can not change the "value" recorded in the actual .txt flight log.
If your .txt flight logs contain consecutive or identical DAT numbers there's a fair chance you have not deleted a .txt flight log.
However even if you have a DAT for which there is no corresponding .txt flight log it does NOT NECESSARILY mean that you have deleted a .txt flight log. A DAT is recorded from drone=switch-on to drone-switch-off and this is done irrespective of whether or not the drone's motors are started.
Unfortunately the app does not display the corresponding DAT number and you would have to process the .txt flight log to see the corresponding DAT number.

Additionally, for those drones that DO NOT encrypt the DAT, the processed DAT shows, via motor rpm, the number of motor starts during its recording.
I have used that a time or two to work out if I have lost .txt flight logs
 
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It's just friendly advice from me. You met with the police, maybe you sensed they were your friends and the only reason why the state police came to your house was because someone called but they really didn't want to. ok, cool. op, unless you know for sure what was reported, you cannot know for sure why the police decided to pay you a visit. all i am saying is be careful. if "flying a drone" is legal but the police came to your home for "flying a drone" what does that tell you?

like i said "Any charge will likely be dropped but we shouldn't have to go thru all that."
 
I would be as friendly as could be and not argumentative with the police at all but I know after a few needless calls from my neighbors our local 911 would be automatically going to the neighbors home to investigate instead of coming to me I would tell them that I support them 100% BUT cmon guys you are just wasting your time and our money on someone who believes it is their destiny to control the actions of people in the area you live. this is if they have been coming every time they call.
 
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op, unless you know for sure what was reported, you cannot know for sure why the police decided to pay you a visit. all i am saying is be careful. if "flying a drone" is legal but the police came to your home for "flying a drone" what does that tell you?

It tells me that a neighbor accused the OP of doing something illegal and the police investigated. They did their job. They concluded that the OP had done nothing wrong and left.

The police didn't make the visits because the OP was "flying a drone." They came because of a complaint from a citizen about someone flying a drone illegally.

What sinister motives are you imagining on the the part of the police?
 
It tells me that a neighbor accused the OP of doing something illegal and the police investigated. They did their job. They concluded that the OP had done nothing wrong and left.

The police didn't make the visits because the OP was "flying a drone." They came because of a complaint from a citizen about someone flying a drone illegally.

What sinister motives are you imagining on the the part of the police?
I can only go by the op reported. He said:

"It seems I have been hovering at some ones window and even entered their barn with my drone."

Let's just go with that for now. Not my story to tell, I just give advice; take it or leave it.
 
the third time the police could get "fed up" and decide to arrest you and take your drone.
Law Enforcement Officers cannot ARREST anyone in the United States of America just because the officer(s) are 'fed up'... that's ludicrous. And why would you not talk to them or even offer to show them your logs? You clamming up and starting to quote constitutional rights would definitely raise suspicion.


How many other pilots have experienced this kind of harassment from their neighbors and law enforcement?
The officer(s) are not harassing you, just doing their job... following up on a complaint by a citizen.


if "flying a drone" is legal but the police came to your home for "flying a drone" what does that tell you?
I honestly don't know so tell me please - what does that tell me?
 
Law Enforcement Officers cannot ARREST anyone in the United States of America just because the officer(s) are 'fed up'... that's ludicrous. And why would you not talk to them or even offer to show them your logs? You clamming up and starting to quote constitutional rights would definitely raise suspicion.



The officer(s) are not harassing you, just doing their job... following up on a complaint by a citizen.



I honestly don't know so tell me please - what does that tell me?
I don't have a story to tell. Let's allow the OP to tell his story without derailing the conversation. If you want to open a new thread on a slight different topic, I'll be happy to chime in with my opinions which I'm guessing is about 180 degree from yours. :)
 
Has never happened to me and I don't expect it primarily because I don't fly from home; understand why you do since you live rural. Anyway, never talk to police when they come calling with questions. I guess it's ok to answer a few questions to dispel their fears but I would never offer to show my logs on site.

Not trying to be dramatic but just remember, the third time the police could get "fed up" and decide to arrest you and take your drone. Anything from trespassing to harassment to invasion of privacy to a stretch which is disorderly conduct or stalking or video voyerism. That's the world we drone pilots live in; I understand it's rare but it is a possibility. Any charge will likely be dropped but we shouldn't have to go thru all that.
Greetings from NW Pennsylvania. I've been a recreational flyer for about 5 years now and own several drones. We live in a rural area and I fly mostly out of my backyard. In the past 2 weeks I have been visited by the PA State Police twice concerning my drones. It seems I have been hovering at some ones window and even entered their barn with my drone. This person provided my name to the officers (I assume they got it from my mailbox) and has decided that it must be me because they have seen me operating a drone in my yard. I informed the officers that if necessary I can show him my flight logs to prove it wasn't however I am getting tired of being guilty by 'association' and they better have proof that it is me if they visit again. How many other pilots have experienced this kind of harassment from their neighbors and law enforcement?
Thanks everyone for the excellent advise. Both officers were very cordial which probably kept me from getting arrogant with them however what a waste of their manpower and taxpayers dollars it is. It won't deter me from flying at home and if I do receive a 3rd visit I'll be the one phoning 911.
 
Law Enforcement Officers cannot ARREST anyone in the United States of America just because the officer(s) are 'fed up'... that's ludicrous.

I wish it were, but it happens all the time. LEOs are human beings, and pushed into emotional territory, can judge and act unreasonably.

One of the most oft-used laws for citing or arresting a person when "fed up" with the manner in which a citizen chooses to (quite legally) exercise their rights is, "interference with a police officer in carrying out his duties", and the always available, "obstruction of justice".

And don't misunderstand me... I am one of the biggest LE fan boys and supports among the 330 million people in the US. I am also a realist. We don't encounter robocop and robojudge out there in the Justice System. We encounter human beings. Just like at the DMV, bank, grocery store, any government office, act like an entitled jerk that these peons better get off their arses and serve, and you can count on them using every ounce of power they have over you to make you suffer.

They're people too. They have a limit. Keep that in mind.
 
BTW, I don't blame the LEO for slapping an "interference" citation on some jerk who believes it's okay, because he has the right to, to stand there yelling crap at an LEO because "Black Lives Matter". And I'm making no statement here about the justification, politics, or anything else about the BLM movement.

I'm citing a well-known example for how an idea with merit is more often used as a cudgel against those someone hates, rather than actions that lead to improving the situation.

No one is helped by being nasty to an LEO. No one, ever. Talking with respect and a clear desire for mutual understanding goes a long way.

With a police officer, or your mechanic.
 
Yes Its ALWAYS Good to be friendly with the Police. I am known by Police for my drone antics lol ( none illegal) in Bakersfield and many towns up the Grapevine- into L.A. - Not because they have been called on me ( mostly) but because they see me and are interested.
I don't know any of these officers that would bend the law to throw me in jail over my Drone even if they are pissed off especially now days when they are watched closer than a cashier at walmart!. These officers Know the law and if they aren't sure most would be happy to google a law IF You are friendly to them.
 
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It won't deter me from flying at home and if I do receive a 3rd visit I'll be the one phoning 911.

Call the front desk before the flight(s) as a preemptive strike so when / if the 911 calls come in, they'll have a heads up. 🤔

.
 
I don't know any of these officers that would bend the law to throw me in jail over my Drone even if they are pissed off especially now days when they are watched closer than a cashier at walmart!.

Your just not trying very hard 😁

Try standing there while they're arresting someone for which you're entirely uninvolved, screaming "pig" at them, going out of your way to make it clear you're videotaping their every move, holding a sign that says, "racist pig" on one side, "Defund the Police" on the other... do I need to go on?

You don't get cited because what you think is irritating on your part is a relaxing day of minor citizen encounters to the cops.

Just reading your postings here, I'm sure you dont have what it takes to push an LEO to the point of "fed up".

I know i don't. I just couldn't do and say the things necessary, and live with myself.
 
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