FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 25, 2016
Contact: Jessica Wallin, CMPD Public Affairs
On Thursday, March 24, 2016, at approximately 12:40 a.m., officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Aviation Unit were in the helicopter circulating the area of Central Avenue and Sharon Amity Road searching for a wanted suspect who was running from police.
While in the midst of the search, the Aviation Unit was notified by officers on the ground that a male subject near that intersection had launched a drone in the air around the same altitude and flight path as the helicopter. The Aviation Unit immediately and abruptly had to alter their flight path in order to avoid a mid-air collision with the drone.
The subject flying the drone was asked to immediately land the drone by officers on the ground. The subject, identified as Christopher Baucom, DOB: 06/19/1989, initially refused to comply with officers’ orders to land the drone but after speaking further with officers, he eventually landed the drone. The drone was of such a size that it is required to be registered with the FAA. The FAA prohibits the flight of drones at night, in any environment or at any altitude. The FAA also requires that all operators of unmanned aircraft systems produce their aircraft registration and government identification when prompted by any law enforcement officer. Baucom refused to provide officers with a registration or identification and told officers that he did not need to comply with their requests to do so.
Officers placed Baucom under arrest and charged him with Interference with Manned Aircraft by Unmanned Aircraft System (Felony) and Resist (Misdemeanor). Baucom was also found to have been listening to a scanner to listen to police radio traffic and advised officers that he drove to the scene for the sole purpose of flying his drone at 1000 feet above ground level and taking video footage of the police helicopter as it worked the call. For additional information about this incident please refer to CMPD report number 20160324-0105-00.
For information regarding rules and regulations mandated by the FAA, please visit https://www.faa.gov/uas/.