WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A study conducted by Monmouth University in New Jersey finds that Americans support some drone use.

Information was gathered over the phone using a poll that asked a cross-section of the American populace for their feelings on drone use in a variety of different contexts. The study was conducted earlier this month.

“[T]he American public supports many applications of this technology,” a release on the findings states.

Applications seen as favorable by a majority of those surveyed include search and rescue missions — a use that won over an overwhelming 80 percent of those asked — along with border patrol and assisting in the capture of criminals on the run.

The release clarified, though, that “[r]outine policing … is not among [those applications].”

Another use that polled Americans disagreed with included the use of drone technology for giving out speeding tickets. In fact, a reported minority of 23 percent were in support of drones being used by police, with 67 percent decidedly opposed to the concept.

“Americans clearly support using drone technology in special circumstances, but they are a bit leery of more routine use by local law enforcement agencies,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, in the release.

Murray additionally told CBSDC that the survey is the first of many planned that will cover a range of national interest topics.

“This topic is going to be very important in just a few years, as drones become more trouble in our air space,” he added. “From the reaction we’ve seen, in the media and elsewhere, this is a topic a lot of people are thinking about.”

Privacy issues cropped up time and time again in the study. A documented two out of every three Americans voiced some amount of reticence, with 42 percent rating their level of concern as high.

Murray noted that, overall, any sort of public acceptance of drones is interesting, given that Americans have not yet seen them flying overhead. The release estimated that approximately 30,000 drones will take up residence in our skies in the next ten years.

He added, “It will be interesting to see how that changes as drones actually become put into use by law enforcement.”


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