New York police deploy drone fleet for search operations, ‘other emergency situations’ – USA TODAY



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The New York Police Department has a new fleet of 14 drones. The department said on Tuesday that the potential uses include search and rescue, hard-to-reach crime scenes, hostage situations and hazardous material incidents. (Dec. 4) AP

New York City Police Department just added a fleet of drones to its force. 

Fourteen drones will be used by licensed NYPD officers in the Technical Assistance Response Unit for everything from search and rescue operations to monitoring traffic and pedestrians at large events, the department announced Tuesday. Other uses include crime scene documentation, HAZMAT incidents, hostage situations and “other emergency situations” with proper approval. 

“Drone technology will give our cops and their incident commanders an opportunity to see what they are getting into before they go into harm’s way,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan said at a press conference. “Frankly, for this reason alone, it would be negligent for us not to utilize this technology.”

Eleven of the drones are small quadcopters that will be used for tactical operations. Two are larger, weather resistant quadcopters with a zoom camera and thermal imaging capabilities. Another quadcopter will be used for training and testing purposes. 

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said the drones will help the largest municipal police department in the nation be more “effective, efficient, and safe.”

More: What you need to know before flying a drone

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The NYPD said the drones will not be used for traffic enforcement or routine patrol. The drones also will never be used as a weapon or be equipped with a weapon. 

Across the U.S., more than 900 state and local police, fire and emergency units use drones. 

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

 

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