VIRGINIA

Gov. Bob McDonnell supports drones policing Virginia

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is voicing his support for police departments using military equipment to fly over the commonwealth.

Fairfax County and D.C. have been pushing to have officers use the drones as proponents say they will make policing safer.

Those against the move say the drones could easily lead to invasion of privacy.

Herndon resident Steve Ferguson says, "...It's unmanned surveillance, and it's kind of like a 1984 concept to me."

New mom Erin Hathaway disagrees. She likes the idea of increased security while saving taxpayer money, adding that many people forgo privacy for all kinds of reasons.

"With all the information that people put about themselves on Facebook and everywhere else, I think it's good," Hathaway explains. "It helps catch the bad guys."

Speaking out on the radio with our news partner WTOP, Gov. McDonnell said he believes drones in Virginia could be the right thing to do.

MORE: Drones over Virginia "great," McDonnell says (WTOP.com)

McDonnell said he is open to looking into any new technology that can keep police officers safe, make law enforcement more productive and save the state money.

“I think it’s great, I think we ought to be using technology to make law enforcement more productive, cuts down on manpower and also more safe, that's why we use it on the battlefield,” McDonnell said.

The governor also talked about the issue of privacy, adding that he believes it would be important to maintain civil liberties and address all of those issues if drones were put in place.

Industry experts insist that with the right rules in place, unmanned aerial vehicles are a cost saving way to do jobs they call too dangerous or too dull for humans.

Ben Gielow with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems adds, "They could have agriculture applications, you could monitor pipelines, power lines with them...You could do environmental research, wildlife research...there's a whole host of applications where you could use them systems."

McDonnell says a proposal to use drones in the state hasn’t reached his desk, but he says he knows state law enforcement is always looking at the best new ways to fight crime.

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