The New York Police Department will begin to use DJI drones as part of a new safety programme which has UAS at its core.
The force will train and licence officers in its Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) to operate drones in a move to keep the New York community safe.
Initially, the organisation is planning to incorporate 14 DJI drones into its operations to assist with surveillance video footage, recording of large scale demonstrations and arrest situations and live video to incident commanders during emergency situations.
As part of a press conference which was used to announce the news, a spokesperson for the police force expressed the importance of using drones in emergency work and said: “Frankly, it would be negligent for us not to use this technology.”
11 Mavic Pro Quadcopters will be used for small tactical operations while two M210 RTK quadcopters will be made available for large scale operations where weather and distance may be an issue. NYPD will also have one Inspire 1 quadcopter at its disposal which will be primarily used for training and testing purposes.
James O’Neill, police commissioner for the force, said: “As the largest municipal police department in the United States, the NYPD must always be willing to leverage the benefits of new and always-improving technology.
“Our new UAS program is part of this evolution, it enables our highly-trained cops to be even more responsive to the people we serve, and to carry out the NYPD’s critical work in ways that are more effective, efficient, and safe for everyone.”
The police team is hoping the UAS program can help it gather crucial information as situations unfold without putting officers at risk and lessen harm and danger to civilian bystanders and other involved parties.
On the move, a spokesperson from DJI said: “We’re pleased that NYPD is now the largest of more than 900 public safety agencies adopting drones to save lives and enhance their response in emergency situations. DJI drones are rapidly becoming a standard tool for protecting life and property, and we expect the NYPD’s deployment – in some of the world’s most complicated airspace – will show how drones are a safe and effective tool for a variety of lifesaving missions.
They added: “Drones have helped save almost 200 lives around the world and have proven to be an invaluable technology used to keep officers out of harm’s way in hazardous situations.”
Addressing certain concerns about the use of drones in policing, a statement put out online by the force said the technology would not be used for traffic enforcement, routine patrol, immobilising vehicles or suspects, search without a warrant and as a weapon.
In the UK, the police in Lincolnshire has recently used drones to locate a stranded rape victim.
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