Visitor Cited for Illegal Drone Operation

Date: December 17, 2015

WASHINGTON – At 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16 the United States Park Police observed three individuals operating an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), or drone, in the northeast quadrant of the Washington Monument grounds. Flying any kind of UAS or drone anywhere in Washington, D.C. or in national parks is illegal.

 Officers made contact with the operator and ordered him to land the drone. The officer issued William Stokes, Jr. a citation for operation of an unmanned aircraft. A Wondertech Zenith drone and controller were confiscated from Stokes and kept as evidence.

 Federal law prohibits flying all unmanned aircraft, more commonly called drones, in the heavily regulated Flight Restricted Zone around Washington, D.C., including from private property inside the FRZ. Additionally, launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircrafts is prohibited in all areas administered by the National Park Service. Know Before You Fly! To learn more visit

This is the 10th reported incident involving illegal operation of an unmanned aircraft in a Great Washington area National Park in 2015, and the 27th since 2013. 


About the United States Park Police: USPP supports the mission of the National Park Service by providing law enforcement to safeguard lives, protect national treasures and symbols of democracy, and preserve the natural and cultural resources entrusted to the care of the National Park Service. USPP officers are located in the Washington, New York, and San Francisco metropolitan areas. The force was created by President George Washington in 1791.

 About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more

Last updated: December 23, 2015