HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Car crash investigations take time and snarl traffic. Honolulu police Maj. Kurt Kendro believes the process would move faster if cops used drones.
"That aerial platform would give us a bird's eye view right then or right there," he said.
But Senate Bill 2608 would require a search warrant every time police want to use an unmanned aerial vehicle.
"That's just not efficient," Kendro said. "It doesn't help us. It doesn't help us with our mission."
Senator Clayton Hee introduced the legislation.
"I realize that obtaining a warrant requires a court hearing. On the other hand the reason you obtain a warrant is that it is a serious issue that the courts should give guidance to," he said.
Drones could quickly cover large crime scenes, gather intel in hostage situations, and monitor crowds at big events.
"This bill would prohibit us from using a UAV to ensure the safety and security of all the people attending the Pro Bowl," Kendro said.
Flying the police helicopter over a crime scene costs about $500 an hour. No search warrant is needed. Police wonder why UAV's aren't included in that class.
Hee is considering HPD's argument.
"There may be certain conditions where a warrant may be necessary and certain conditions in the commission of assisting HPD where it may not be warranted to a have a court rule," he said.
"There needs to be some regulation. But let's have a common sense approach that we can use it all to help serve our community better," Kendro said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill with amendments. It now goes to a floor vote before the full Senate.