|Occurred : 1/14/2020 00:00 (Entered as : 01/14/2020 00:00)
Reported: 1/15/2020 5:26:01 PM 17:26
Location: Phillipsburg, KS
|I am copy/pasting a recent news article concerning the recent drone sightings over southern Nebraska and northern Kansas. FBI has recently made contact with our county Sheriffs office. Being law enforcement for the State of Kansas, this is deeply concerning when the FBI doesnt even know what it is.
Hays Post JAN 15, 2020 12:40 PM Drone armada descends upon Phillips County, region Posted Jan 15, 2020 12:40 PM Stock photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@boontohhgraphy?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Sorasak</a> on Unsplash Stock photo by Sorasak on Unsplash By KIRBY ROSS Phillips County Review PHILLIPSBURG —
Shortly after midnight last Wednesday morning, a drone hummed across the northern tier of Phillips County townships bordering the Nebraska state line, leaving in its wake baffled observers, barking dogs and an obvious “fingerprint” of a low-lying vapor trail in the frigid winter air several hundred feet above the ground stretching for miles.
This wasn’t an isolated curiosity however — instead, it was just one more incident among scores seen by Phillips County residents and hundreds more witnessed by other individuals stretching from Omaha to Denver.
So prevalent had the sightings been up to that point that just hours before this particular incident Phillips County Sheriff Charlie Radabaugh issued a public statement saying “They’re not hurting anything.  They’re annoying. Is there anything criminal? Not really.” The following day, the sheriff’s office followed up by stating “Earlier today, Sheriff Radabaugh was contacted by the FBI inquiring about the drone sightings in the area. No new information on the situation was received from them. We ask that since the aircraft are likely being operated by someone near them, that you report any suspicious vehicles you may see so we can attempt to contact and identify them.” Individuals familiar with regulations regarding the operation of drones point to a requirement to obtain an FAA waiver to operate at night above people.
Speculation has focused on several theories including: 1) A large number of unrelated aircraft received as Christmas presents being put up into the air around the holidays 2) An operation by a government agency hoping to scare up a public reaction forcing regulations requiring privately owned drones to start carrying identifying signals 3) Invaders from Mars Some tongue-in-cheek humor was discovered in downtown Phillipsburg last week. Courtesy photo Some tongue-in-cheek humor was discovered in downtown Phillipsburg last week. Courtesy photo CNN News, which has picked up the story, notes “The incidents come as the FAA is proposing new rules that will require most drones to use remote ID technology that will allow the FAA, law enforcement and federal security agencies to identify drones flying in their jurisdiction.” If a single entity is involved it would have to be well-heeled. Heeled to the tune of seven figures for this expansive of an operation, since witnesses have stated these are not hobbyist aircraft, but are at least six-to-ten feet in diameter and have been sighted flying in groups of 10 in Phillips County, and up to 30 in Nebraska and Colorado.
With no one claiming responsibility for what seems to be a high -dollar enterprise encompassing around 150,000 square miles, the FAA and the U.S. Air Force have both taken positions of having no knowledge regarding what’s going on.
Austin Thalheim, Long Island, first noticed the drones around Thursday, Jan. 2.
"About last Thursday up until now, there’s been anywhere from 15 to 20 flying around at night," he said. "About every night, it seems like people are out driving around, trying to get a better view of them. I’d be interested to know who it is and have them tell us what’s going on.” Law enforcement in two counties in northeast Colorado put together a task force specifically to look into the reports occurring there. With multiple deputies out in the field on the night of Dec. 20 they were able to track at least 16 drones.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner issued a press release earlier this month stating he personally spoke with the administrator of the FAA, who advised him his agency has people on the ground who are working with federal law enforcement to track down the operator of the drones.
One sheriff in Colorado even issued a request for people to be on the lookout “for the command vehicle, a closed box trailer, or van with antennas that look suspicious.” Within 24 hours, he retracted the request, with other officials engaged in the investigation saying authorities were never looking for any such ground vehicle in the first place.
Kirby Ross, editor of the Phillips County Review, declared to be the top Kansas newspaper in its circulation class for 2019, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.