In 2014, Illinois passed SB 2937, which requires police to adhere to search-warrant regulations already in place when using drones. However, the use of drones by law enforcement during a natural disaster or health emergency will be loosened.
Senate Bill 2937
Public Act 098-0831
LRB098 17872 RLC 52996 b
AN ACT concerning criminal law.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act is
amended by changing Section 15 and by adding Section 40 as
(725 ILCS 167/15)
Sec. 15. Exceptions. This Act does not prohibit the use of
a drone by a law enforcement agency:
(1) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a
specific individual or organization if the United States
Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible
intelligence indicates that there is that risk.
(2) If a law enforcement agency first obtains a search
warrant based on probable cause issued under Section 108-3
of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. The warrant must
be limited to a period of 45 days, renewable by the judge
upon a showing of good cause for subsequent periods of 45
(3) If a law enforcement agency possesses reasonable
suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift
action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life, or to
forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the
destruction of evidence. The use of a drone under this
paragraph (3) is limited to a period of 48 hours. Within 24
hours of the initiation of the use of a drone under this
paragraph (3), the chief executive officer of the law
enforcement agency must report in writing the use of a
drone to the local State's Attorney.
(4) If a law enforcement agency is attempting to locate
a missing person, and is not also undertaking a criminal
(5) If a law enforcement agency is using a drone solely
for crime scene and traffic crash scene photography. Crime
scene and traffic crash photography must be conducted in a
geographically confined and time-limited manner to
document specific occurrences. The use of a drone under
this paragraph (5) on private property requires either a
search warrant based on probable cause under Section 108-3
of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 or lawful consent
to search. The use of a drone under this paragraph (5) on
lands, highways, roadways, or areas belonging to this State
or political subdivisions of this State does not require a
search warrant or consent to search. Any law enforcement
agency operating a drone under this paragraph (5) shall
make every reasonable attempt to only photograph the crime
scene or traffic crash scene and avoid other areas.
(6) If a law enforcement agency is using a drone during
a disaster or public health emergency, as defined by
Section 4 of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act.
The use of a drone under this paragraph (6) does not
require an official declaration of a disaster or public
health emergency prior to use. A law enforcement agency may
use a drone under this paragraph (6) to obtain information
necessary for the determination of whether or not a
disaster or public health emergency should be declared, to
monitor weather or emergency conditions, to survey damage,
or to otherwise coordinate response and recovery efforts.
The use of a drone under this paragraph (6) is permissible
during the disaster or public health emergency and during
subsequent response and recovery efforts.
(Source: P.A. 98-569, eff. 1-1-14.)
(725 ILCS 167/40 new)
Sec. 40. Law enforcement use of private drones.
(a) Except as provided in Section 15, a law enforcement
agency may not acquire information from or direct the
acquisition of information through the use of a drone owned by
a private third party. In the event that law enforcement
acquires information from or directs the acquisition of
information through the use of a privately owned drone under
Section 15 of this Act, any information so acquired is subject
to Sections 20 and 25 of this Act.
(b) Nothing in this Act prohibits private third parties
from voluntarily submitting information acquired by a
privately owned drone to law enforcement. In the event that law
enforcement acquires information from the voluntary submission
of that information, whether under a request or on a private
drone owner's initiative, the information is subject to