NY Daily News: Send in the Drones: NYPD Launches its New 'Unmanned Aircraft' System

The NYPD has launched its unmanned aircraft system — 14 new drones that they will for emergency situations. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

NY Daily News: Send in the Drones: NYPD Launches its New 'Unmanned Aircraft' System

December 4th, 2018

Elizabeth Elizade and Thomas Tracy

The NYPD has acquired 13 drones that will be soon be deployed across the city during emergencies, officials said.

Police brass on Tuesday showed off their new “unmanned aerial vehicles” at Fort Totten in Queens.

The NYPD’s Technical Assistance and Response Unit will be utilizing the drones to assist in rescue missions, inaccessible crime scenes and hostage situations.

“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,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement. “Our new UAS program is part of this evolution.”

Officials said that the drones will not carry weapons, be put on routine patrol or spy on suspects.

Yet some critics worry the drones will be kept in their boxes until an emergency occurs.

“The Department has a history of using powerful technology to unfairly target our clients and communities of color,” the Legal Aid Society said in a statement. “Its continued unrestrained expansion will only further sow distrust and increase unequal treatment of our clients.”

“This is a dangerous step towards the further militarization of the NYPD,” the group added.

The NYPD’s new fleet of drones include 11 Mavic Pro quadcopters that can be deployed for tactical operations, two M210 RTK quadcopters that come with a 30X zoom and thermal imaging cameras that can also create 3D maps for search and rescue operations and an Inspire 1 quadcopter that can be used for training and testing.