NYPD to monitor Times Square with a drone for the first time tonight [Update: Drones are grounded]

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 31, 2018, 7:00 pm CDT
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NYPD to monitor Times Square with a drone for the first time tonight [Update: Drones are grounded]

The New York Police Department plans to deploy around 7,000 police officers tonight for security in Times Square, as well as a drone that will monitor the festivities from the sky. This is a milestone occasion for the NYPD, which has never before deployed a drone for large gatherings like this. The idea is that a drone can quickly move to a potentially problematic part of the crowd to provide a visual faster than officers can push through it.

Times Square will be packed with tens of thousands of people tonight as they help ring in the new year. This event always draws large numbers of police officers tasked with keeping the peace, monitoring for security threats, and more, but this will be the first year that a drone helps them accomplish this.

The NYPD has stated that participants can expect to be within about 10ft of a police officer at any given time, but navigating the crowd can still be difficult. The camera on the drone provides an aerial look at any given situation, helping officers assess the situation even if any officer isn’t present at it. The department has only stated that their drone is a remote-controlled quadcopter.

Though this is a “first” for the department, the NYPD revealed plans to start utilizing drones on a regular basis earlier this month. According to an announcement made by the police department in early December, the NYPD has added a total of 14 DJI drones to its force.

The drones will, in general everyday life, be used for search and rescue and certain other situations deemed acceptable. The fleet includes a total of 11 DJI Mavic Pro quadcopters — it’s likely one of these units that will be deployed tonight. Other models include a DJI Inspire and M210 RTK.

Update: NYPD has announced that the drones have been grounded due to weather.


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