NY State Police to begin deploying drones

A governor’s office news release said the state police drones will be used for law enforcement work including disaster response and traffic safety


By Gordon Block
Watertown Daily, N.Y.

NEW YORK — State police will begin using aerial drones in the north country this month, as part of a program that will soon be expanded throughout the state.

A governor’s office news release said the state police drones will be used for law enforcement work including disaster response and traffic safety.

A drone operated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office flies during a demonstration of a search and rescue operation on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A drone operated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office flies during a demonstration of a search and rescue operation on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The deployment this month includes state police’s Troop D, which covers seven counties including Jefferson and Lewis, along with Troop A in Western New York, Troop F west of the Hudson River and Troop G in the Capital Region.

An additional 14 drones will be deployed throughout the state by April.

“The aerial drone systems we are deploying bring substantial benefits to our Troopers in the field, and are representative of our ongoing efforts to provide the tools they need to deliver outstanding service to the public,” said state police Superintendent George P. Beach II, in a provided statement.

Among the benefits listed for the use of drones were reduced costs compared to manned aircraft, improved response times and increased efficiency in operations. As one example, a drone can help reconstruct motor vehicle crashes more quickly, lessening closure times for motorists.

In case of natural disasters and dangerous situations, the drones may be able to help protect troopers, the governor’s office said.

“This state-of-the-art technology will improve emergency response, improve operational and cost efficiencies and increase Trooper safety,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in a statement. “We will continue to implement innovative technologies to improve our ability to protect New Yorkers across this great state.”

Troopers using the drones will be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and undergo 32 hours of hands-on training.

Sixteen of the drones provided for the work are being provided by the New York State Trooper Foundation.

The use of drones by state police is another example of state agencies taking advantage of the new technology. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has a 22-drone fleet that they use for a variety of purposes, including evaluating eroded coastline on Lake Ontario last year.

©2018 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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