Amended in Assembly March 8, 2016

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1820


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk

February 8, 2016


An act to add Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) to Part 4 of the Penal Code, relating to unmanned aircraft systems.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1820, as amended, Quirk. Unmanned aircraft systems.

Existing federal law, the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, provides for the integration of civil and public unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, into the national airspace system.

This bill would generally prohibit a law enforcement agency from using an unmanned aircraft system, obtaining an unmanned aircraft system from another public agency by contract, loan, or other arrangement, or using information obtained from an unmanned aircraft system used by another public agency, except as provided by the bill’s provisions. The bill would make its provisions applicable to all law enforcement agencies and private entities when contracting with or acting as the agent of a law enforcement agency for the use of an unmanned aircraft system. The bill would authorize a law enforcement agency to use an unmanned aircraft system if the law enforcement agency complies with specified requirements, including, among others, that before the use of an unmanned aircraft system, the law enforcement agency develops and makes available to the public a policy on the use of an unmanned aircraft system, as provided, and that the law enforcement agency complies with all applicable federal, state, and local law and the unmanned aircraft system policy developed by the law enforcement agency pursuant to the bill’s provisions. The bill would prohibit a law enforcement agency from using an unmanned aircraft system to surveil private property unless, among other justifications, the law enforcement agency obtains a search warrant.

The bill would require images, footage, or data obtained through the use of an unmanned aircraft system under these provisions to be permanently destroyed within one year, except as specified. Unless authorized by federal law, the bill would prohibit a person or entity, including a public agency subject to these provisions, or a person or entity under contract to a public agency, for the purpose of that contract, from equipping or arming an unmanned aircraft system with a weapon or other device that may be carried by, or launched or directed from, an unmanned aircraft system and that is intended to cause incapacitation, bodily injury or death, or damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property. By creating a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also provide that specified surveillance restrictions on electronic devices apply to the use or operation of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Title 14 (commencing with Section 14350) is
2added to Part 4 of the Penal Code, to read:

3 

4Title 14.  UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS

5

 

6

14350.  

(a) A law enforcement agency shall not use an
7unmanned aircraft system, obtain an unmanned aircraft system
8from another public agency by contract, loan, or other arrangement,
9or use information obtained from an unmanned aircraft system
10used by another public agency, except as provided in this title.
11This title shall apply to all law enforcement agencies and private
P3    1entities when contracting with or acting as the agent of a law
2enforcement agency for the use of an unmanned aircraft system.

3(b) A law enforcement agency may use an unmanned aircraft
4system, or use information obtained from an unmanned aircraft
5system used by another public agency, if the law enforcement
6agency complies with the requirements of this title and all
7applicable federal, state, and local law.

8(c) If the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a local law
9enforcement agency may involve the collection of images, footage,
10or data from another county, city, or city and county, the law
11enforcement agency shall obtain a warrant based on probable cause,
12unless an exigent circumstance exists.

13(d) (1) If a law enforcement agency elects to use an unmanned
14aircraft system, the law enforcement agency shall first develop
15and make available to the public a policy on its use of the
16unmanned aircraft system, and train the law enforcement agency’s
17officers and employees on the policy, before the use of the
18unmanned aircraft system.

19(2) A law enforcement agency shall use the unmanned aircraft
20system consistent with the policy developed pursuant to this
21subdivision.

22(3) Before finalizing the policy required by this subdivision,
23the law enforcement agency shall present the proposed policy at
24a regularly scheduled and noticed public meeting of its governing
25body with an opportunity for public comment.

26(4) The policy required by this subdivision shall specify, at a
27minimum, all of the following:

28(A) The circumstances under which an unmanned aircraft system
29may or may not be used.

30(B) The rules and processes required before the use of an
31unmanned aircraft system.

32(C) The individuals who may access or use an unmanned aircraft
33system or the information collected by an unmanned aircraft system
34and the circumstances under which those individuals may do so.

35(D) The safeguards to protect against unauthorized use or access.

36(E) The training required for any individual authorized to use
37or access information collected by an unmanned aircraft system.

38(F) The guidelines for sharing images, footage, or data with
39other law enforcement agencies and public agencies.

P4    1(G) The manner in which information obtained from another
2public agency’s use of an unmanned aircraft system will be used.

3(H) Mechanisms to ensure that the policy required by this
4subdivision is adhered to.

5(e) A law enforcement agency shall not use an unmanned aircraft
6system, or information obtained from an unmanned aircraft system
7used by another public agency, to surveil private property unless
8the law enforcement agency has obtained either of the following:

9(1) A search warrant based on probable cause.

10(2) The express permission of the person or entity with the legal
11authority to authorize a search of the specific private property to
12be subjected to surveillance.

13(f) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), a law enforcement agency
14may use an unmanned aircraft system to surveil private property
15if an exigent circumstance exists, including, but not limited to,
16either of the following circumstances:

17(1) In emergency situations if there is an imminent threat to life
18or of great bodily harm, including, but not limited to, fires, hostage
19crises, barricaded suspects, “hot pursuit” situations if reasonably
20necessary to prevent harm to law enforcement officers or others,
21and search and rescue operations on land or water.

22(2) To determine the appropriate response to an imminent or
23existing environmental emergency or disaster, including, but not
24limited to, oil spills or chemical spills.

25

14351.  

(a) Images, footage, or data obtained through the use
26of an unmanned aircraft system shall be permanently destroyed
27within one year, except that a law enforcement agency may retain
28the images, footage, or data in both of the following circumstances:

29(1) For training purposes. Images, footage, or data retained for
30training purposes shall be used only for the education and
31instruction of a law enforcement agency’s employees in matters
32related to the mission of the law enforcement agency and for no
33other purpose.

34(2) For academic research or teaching purposes. Images, footage,
35or data retained for academic research or teaching purposes shall
36be used only for the advancement of research and teaching
37conducted by an academic or research institution and matters
38related to the mission of the institution and for no other purpose.

39(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a law enforcement agency
40may retain beyond one year images, footage, or data obtained
P5    1through the use of an unmanned aircraft system in both of the
2following circumstances:

3(1) If a search warrant authorized the collection of the images,
4footage, or data.

5(2) If the images, footage, or data are evidence in any claim
6filed or any pending litigation, internal disciplinary proceeding,
7enforcement proceeding, or criminal investigation.

8

14352.  

Unless authorized by federal law, a person or entity,
9including a law enforcement agency subject to Section 14350 or
10a person or entity under contract to a law enforcement agency, for
11the purpose of that contract, shall not equip or arm an unmanned
12aircraft system with a weapon or other device that may be carried
13by, or launched or directed from, an unmanned aircraft system and
14that is intended to cause incapacitation, bodily injury or death, or
15damage to, or the destruction of, real or personal property.

16

14353.  

begin deleteAll unmanned aircraft systems shall be operated end deletebegin insertA law
17enforcement agency that uses an unmanned aircraft system shall
18operate the systemend insert
so as to minimize the collection of images,
19footage, or data of persons, places, or things not specified with
20particularity in the warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned
21aircraft system, or, if no warrant was obtained, for purposes
22unrelated to the justification for the operation.

23

14354.  

(a) This title is not intended to conflict with or
24supersede federal law, including rules and regulations of the
25Federal Aviation Administration.

26(b) A local legislative body may adopt more restrictive policies
27on the acquisition, use, or retention of unmanned aircraft systems
28by a law enforcement agency.

29

14355.  

Except as provided in this title, the surveillance
30restrictions on electronic devices described in Chapter 1.5
31(commencing with Section 630) of Title 15 of Part 1 shall apply
32to the use or operation of an unmanned aircraft system by a law
33enforcement agency.

34

14356.  

For the purposes of this title, the following definitions
35shall apply:

36(a) “Criminal intelligence” means information compiled,
37analyzed, or disseminated in an effort to anticipate, prevent,
38monitor, or investigate criminal activity.

39(b) “Law enforcement agency” means the Attorney General,
40each district attorney, and each agency of the state or political
P6    1subdivision of the state authorized by statute to investigate or
2prosecute law violators and that employs peace officers.

3(c) “Surveil” means the purposeful observation of a person or
4private property with the intent of gathering criminal intelligence.

5(d)  “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft
6and associated elements, including communication links and the
7components that control the unmanned aircraft, that are required
8for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the
9national airspace system.

10

SEC. 2.  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
11Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
12the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
13district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
14infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
15for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
16the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
17the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
18Constitution.



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