This week, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced that it will be adding a fleet of crime-fighting drones to its ranks. The NYPD plans to roll out 14 drones as part of its technology “evolution.” Police Commissioner James O’Neill 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.” The hope is that these drones will enable the NYPD’s trained police officers to be even more responsive, effective and efficient. A NYPD spokesperson said that the drones will not be used for everyday police patrol, unlawful surveillance or to enforce traffic laws. Additionally, these drones will not be used as weapons or equipped with any weapons.
As part of this drone program, 29 NYPD police officers have been trained and licensed to operate drones. The fleet will consist of 11 DJI Mavic Pro quadcopters for tactical operations, and 2 DJI M210 RTK quadcopters for search and rescue missions, and 1 DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter for training other police officers. The drones will also be used for large-scale city events, hazmat investigations, hostage situations and for accessing hard-to-reach crime scenes.
Prior to implementing this program, the NYPD conferred with over 900 agencies across the country that are already using drones.