Airspace Restricted Above 55 Additional Facilities

FAA restricts drone flights up to 400 feet over Additional Bureau sites

Airspace Restricted Above 55 Additional Facilities

(BOP) - The Bureau's Office of Security Technology (OST), in coordination with the Department of Justice, has solicited and obtained authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for restricted airspace above 55 additional Bureau sites. Effective November 7, 2019, the FAA has restricted drone flights up to 400 feet over a total of 109 Bureau facilities. These protections are the result of the continued efforts of the BOP and the Department of Justice to address the security threat posed by drones. While the FAA flight restrictions do not prevent overflights, they establish fair warning for careless and uniformed drone operators who violate the flight restrictions and subject those operators to civil and/or criminal penalties.

It is a federal crime to shoot any aircraft, including drones, out of the sky. The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act included provisions granting the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice the authority to track, intercept and destroy drones deemed to be a "credible threat" to people or federal facilities.

Regulations regarding implementation of the new law are forthcoming; until the regulations are published, staff should continue to report all sightings of drones using Form BP-A0583, Report of Incident. Any contraband dropped by a drone should be confiscated and an investigation should ensue. Drones that are recovered should be shipped immediately to the Central Office's Intelligence Section Cellphone Forensic Lab to be analyzed.

The Bureau continues to face security threats posed by the use of drones, including for the purpose of introducing contraband (narcotics, cellphones, SIM cards, etc.) inside our secure facilities. These FAA flight restrictions are part of the Bureau's ongoing efforts to maintain safe and secure facilities and protect inmates, staff and the public.