North Dakota Sheriff Blasts FAA On Nighttime Drone Waiver Wait, Asserts Preference Given To Entertainment

By April Baumgarten,
Grand Forks Herald

The Grand Forks County sheriff wants to know why the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t approved a waiver for law enforcement to fly drones anywhere in the country while it took only wee
ks to give a company permission to fly drones for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Deputy Al Frazier planned to ask FAA Administrator Michael Huerta Monday morning in Dallas during a panel discussion on unmanned aircraft to give priority to emergency responders when it came to approving waivers to fly drones for commercial purposes. Particularly, Frazier wanted the FAA to approve a waiver submitted by his agency more than six months ago to fly drones at night anywhere in the country.

“During the daytime, we can fly anywhere in the nation,” Sheriff Bob Rost said. “All of our pilots are FAA-certified pilots. They are not amateurs flying UAS.”

The panel was part of the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo, which is being held this week in Dallas to educate the public on integrating unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, into national airspace, according to a news release.

Grand Forks County is home to the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit, which is staffed by members of the Grand Forks Police Department, the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department, the UND Police Department and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

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