ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOX) – Farmers in fear of drones could wind up grounding the St. Louis Metro Air Support helicopter.

The Missouri House approved a bill banning the use of drones but St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says an unidentified representative snuck in an amendment that takes it a step farther.

“For some reason somebody thought it was important to prohibit law enforcement, even manned law enforcement aircraft, from being in the sky,” he said. “You can only respond to incidents where you need to prevent imminent danger to life. That’s the wording in the bill.”

So that means Metro Air Support, covering St. Louis City, County and St. Charles County, would have to keep the chopper grounded until an incident really became serious, “which is a pretty high hurdle to get an aircraft into the sky,” the chief said.

Fitch says the value of the helicopter is that it can respond to situations – like missing kids and car chases – in a matter of minutes, but only if it is already in the air.

The Chief adds that St. Louis County Police have never considered using a drone. He hopes the Senate rejects the House bill.

The anti-drone bill’s sponsor, Rep. Casey Guernsey, did not return messages for comment.


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