COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said Wednesday that he's officially concerned about the flocks of drones flying over northern Colorado. Lately, reports have shown them as far south as Monument.
"We have heard that these drones are moving towards El Paso County," Gardner admitted. "We have to get to the bottom of this."
On Saturday, Colorado Emergency Management wrote the following on social media:
"As part of the ongoing effort to identify drones, CDPS will be doing some testing of equipment and providing visual identification training to our personnel. We will be utilizing a small drone at low altitude. The drone will be visible from I-76. This will occur at the CSP office in Fort Morgan located at the port of entry at mile marker 74 on I-76. The activity will be limited to the immediate area south of the port and occur intermittently for the next four nights from approximately 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. We request that the public not report this activity as drone sightings."
The drones were first spotted in December, and no one has claimed responsibility for them yet. The sightings have inspired groups online trying to figure out the reason the drones are out flying around at night.
Gardner stated this has further reaching implications than just a simple mystery of "who done it."
“I think this shows a significant gap in our understanding and national security understanding of the threat drones pose," Gardner explained.
"If we can't find out who they are, how they are being controlled, who is controlling them, what is to keep a nation like Iran or North Korea from looking at this instance and saying ‘Boy now we should come out and do the same thing with cameras and sensor equipment to find out the kinds of things that would help with international security' so I think it is a concern.”
The FAA announced on Twitter Friday it is investigating the sightings in both Colorado and Nebraska. Officials with the agency added any concerned citizens should contact local law enforcement.
These don't appear to be drones used by hobbyists. Law enforcement in Colorado even spent a night in December trying to track the drones.
"We are aware of and have been investigating the multiple reports of drone sightings in the county over the last week," The Phillips County Sheriff's Office posted to Facebook on Dec. 20. "Deputies were out all night this evening along with Yuma County SO tracking these drones. Tonight we tracked over 16 drones between the two counties. We believe that the drones, though startling, are not malicious in nature. The Sheriff's Office is following up on leads and communications with state and federal agencies to pinpoint the exact nature to their activities. As more information comes available, we will keep you informed. If any of these drones fly onto your property or are looking into windows, please call the communications center immediately so a deputy can respond to your location. If you happen to come into possession of one of these drones, please contact the Sheriff's Office so we can conduct a forensic evaluation of the drone to identify the owners and take the appropriate actions."
The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office posted another update on Monday:
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office personnel attended a meeting in Brush, Colorado to further discuss the drone sightings in NE Colorado and Nebraska. The meeting consisted of over 70 different law enforcement agencies and government entities including local, state, and federal law enforcement.
I learned that until the operator is identified, the FAA could not be certain if there is a Federal Violation being committed. However, there has been a task force formed to help identify the drone sightings and their operator(s). At this time the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has not identified any Colorado law violations that have come out of the drone sightings in the respective counties in which they have been seen. We understand that this is very unsettling to the residents of Sedgwick County and other respected counties and we are working with our partnerships with the FAA to try to identify the operator(s).
We are asking that community members keep a lookout for any vehicle that seems out of place in the area of the drone activities.
If you would like to report any drone sightings you can find a number on the FAA webpage or use the link UAShelp@faa.gov to send an email to the FAA. You may also contact the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 474-3355 and we can forward the reports to the FAA. You can also contact the Public Affairs Manager, Ian Gregor at 424-405-7007 (office) or 424-731-0215 (cell).