FL Legislature Reconsidering Ban on First Responders' Use of Chinese-Made Drones

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration cited national security concerns in making the move. It had the consequence of grounding hundreds of DJI and other Chinese-made drones statewide.

There’s a bipartisan push in the Florida Legislature to return Chinese-made drones back into service for the state’s first responders after a ban took effect earlier this month.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration cited national security concerns in making the move. It had the consequence of grounding hundreds of DJI and other Chinese-made drones statewide.

Representatives from local law enforcement agencies told lawmakers in a March hearing that drones made by state-approved manufacturers leave a lot to be desired, Local10 reports.

“In one year and a half we had five failures with manufacturers on the (state approved) list. DJI? None,” one public safety user said. “That is going to put us in danger, the officers in danger, and the public in danger, when these drones continue to fall out of the sky.”

Sen. Tom Wright, R-Port Orange has sponsored a bill to allow the DJI drones back into service until agencies can find a way to replace them, giving them more time to find alternatives.

Wright also stated that a US manufacturer on the “approved” list had increased its price for a drone by thousands of dollars after Florida banned Chinese drones.

Lt. Michael Crabb, with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said at his agency, “all of the information received from the drone is completely disconnected from the internet and our secure network.”

“There is no possibility of any exposure of our network” from a DJI drone, he added.

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