Hamilton Co. officials consider public hazard of personal drones - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Officials consider public hazards of personal drones

A toy drone sold at Pit Row Hobbies can cost from $40 to $500. (FOX19) A toy drone sold at Pit Row Hobbies can cost from $40 to $500. (FOX19)

The FAA continues to work on regulations for commercial drones but if you want to buy one as a toy, you don't have to look hard to find one.

Joe Stagge can't count them all, but estimates in the last year he's sold hundreds of drones at Pit Row Hobbies. They are the newest, biggest craze and he says everyone wants one. For $40 to $500, anyone can purchase a drone.

"I mean it really amazes me how far it's come," says Stagge.

Captain Michael Hartzler with the Cincinnati Fusion Center says while recreational drones are legal, some of their potential uses are not, which he why he spent the morning informing county commissioners of the possible risks.

"We are keeping commissioners advised of trends. They are becoming more popular like model planes, model helicopters and more sophisticated," said Hartzler.

With cameras in the sky remotely controlled by someone on the ground, the potential for spying, terrorism and illegal activity is there. While law enforcement is staying tight lipped about how they plan to combat those potential activities, they say drones are definitely on their radar.

"In the intelligence field, it is ever evolving so it is necessary for us to try and stay one step ahead. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't," said Hartzler.

As for Stagge, he'll keep selling them until the demand dies down. Something he doesn't anticipate for awhile.

"I guess just the sheer volume of enough of them being out there could be a problem someday although I don't see it anytime soon," said Stagge.

Captain Hartzler says because of the large number of recreational drones, Hamilton County Law Enforcement is relying on the public to notify them when they see something suspicious. You can call 513-263-8000 to report it.

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