Drone Laws in Alaska
Alaska has a state-appointed Legislative Task Force on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. As of 2014, Alaska had enacted into law protocols for the use of UAVs by law enforcement. Under HB 255, police must provide training certification for its pilots; obtain proper FAA authorization for each flight and maintain a log of all flights. The law also includes protocols on record retention for data obtained by drones. Alaska is also home to the second of six official FAA UAS test sites.
Alaska House Bill 255
00 Enrolled HB 255
01 Relating to unmanned aircraft systems; and relating to images captured by an unmanned
02 aircraft system.
04 * Section 1. AS 14.40 is amended by adding a new section to read:
05 Sec. 14.40.082. Unmanned aircraft system training. The University of
06 Alaska may establish a training program in the operation of unmanned aircraft
08 * Sec. 2. AS 18.65 is amended by adding new sections to read:
09 Article 13. Law Enforcement Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
10 Sec. 18.65.900. Use of unmanned aircraft systems. Except as provided in
11 AS 18.65.900 – 18.65.909, a law enforcement agency may not use an unmanned
12 aircraft system.
13 Sec. 18.65.901. Operational requirements for unmanned aircraft systems.
14 (a) A law enforcement agency shall adopt procedures for the use of unmanned aircraft
01 systems. The procedures adopted under this section must require, at a minimum, that
02 the law enforcement agency
03 (1) obtain any authorization, permit, or certificate required by the
04 Federal Aviation Administration to operate the unmanned aircraft system;
05 (2) allow the unmanned aircraft system to be operated only by
06 unmanned aircraft system pilots and crew members who have been trained and
07 certified in the operation of the unmanned aircraft system and only under the
08 supervision of officials trained in the policies and procedures governing the use of the
09 unmanned aircraft system;
10 (3) provide that the flight of an unmanned aircraft system be approved
11 by the commissioner or deputy commissioner of public safety or the chief
12 administrative officer of the law enforcement agency or the officer’s designee;
13 (4) ensure that the flight of an unmanned aircraft system be for a
14 public purpose;
15 (5) maintain a record of each flight, including the time, date, and
16 purpose of the flight, and the identity of the authorizing official;
17 (6) establish an auditable flight record system, including the
18 documentation of a change in a flight time record;
19 (7) establish a method for notifying the public of the operation of an
20 unmanned aircraft system, unless notifying the public would endanger the safety of a
22 (8) provide for community involvement in the development of the
23 policies required in this section, including the consideration of public comment.
24 (b) In this section, “chief administrative officer” has the meaning given in
25 AS 18.65.290.
26 Sec. 18.65.902. Use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement
27 agency. A law enforcement agency may use an unmanned aircraft system
28 (1) to gather evidence in a criminal investigation
29 (A) under the express terms of a search warrant issued by a
30 court; or
31 (B) in accordance with a judicially recognized exception to the
01 warrant requirement; or
02 (2) in situations and for uses not involving a criminal investigation and
03 not intended to lead to the production of evidence for use in a criminal investigation, if
04 the use does not constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and is
05 consistent with the procedures in AS 18.65.901.
06 Sec. 18.65.903. Retention of images. (a) A law enforcement agency may not
07 retain images captured by an unmanned aircraft system unless retention of the image is
09 (1) as part of an investigation or prosecution;
10 (2) for training purposes; or
11 (3) by federal or state law or by municipal ordinance.
12 (b) Images that may not be retained under (a) of this section are confidential
13 and are not public records under AS 40.25.100 – 40.25.295.
14 Sec. 18.65.909. Definitions. In AS 18.65.900 – 18.65.909,
15 (1) “law enforcement agency” has the meaning given in AS 12.36.090;
16 (2) “unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft that is
17 operated without direct human intervention from inside or on the aircraft and includes
18 the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry,
19 communications, and navigation equipment necessary to operate the unmanned
21 (3) “unmanned aircraft system crew member” means a person other
22 than an unmanned aircraft system pilot who is assigned to duties related to an
23 unmanned aircraft system during flight;
24 (4) “unmanned aircraft system pilot” means a person exercising control
25 over an unmanned aircraft system during flight.
26 * Sec. 3. AS 29.10.200 is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:
27 (63) AS 29.35.146 (images captured by unmanned aircraft systems).
28 * Sec. 4. AS 29.35 is amended by adding a new section to article 1 to read:
29 Sec. 29.35.146. Regulation of unmanned aircraft systems. (a) A
30 municipality may not adopt an ordinance that permits the release of images captured
31 by an unmanned aircraft system in a manner inconsistent with AS 18.65.903.
01 (b) In this section, “unmanned aircraft system” has the meaning given in
02 AS 18.65.909.