The Arkansas Capitol Police, who work under authority of Secretary of State Mark Martin, yesterday announced a ban on unmanned aircraft — for any purpose — on or over the Capitol grounds. The police said the zone was bounded by Interstate 630, Markham Street, Victory Street and railroad tracks on the western end of the grounds.
This exclusion zone reaches beyond the Capitol grounds under Martin’s control (much of the territory except the Capitol itself is managed by the Arkansas Building Authority) and covers some significant amount of private property.
Can the Capitol police do this? I mean, I know they DID it. But I’m curious about the authority. I’ll ask.
The police said they would seize aircraft — including hobbyists’ model aircraft — operating in violation of their order and report to the Federal Aviation Administration.
UPDATE: Martin’s spokesman, Chris Powell, said police acted on the broad powers granted Capitol police in the statute to “secure” Capitol Grounds. They believed the aircraft was a safety issue. He said the law also extends the primary area covered by the police, who have statewide enforcement powers, to a zone surrounding the Capitol.