Here's why you might soon be seeing drones flying over NYC

They are part of a new pilot program by the NYPD.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan
Drone flying over NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

Soon enough, the sound of sirens and the sight of cop cars flying down Fifth Avenue will be accompanied by flying drones, courtesy of a new Drone as First Responder pilot program that the NYPD just announced. 

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry spoke up about the new initiative, set to be "rolled out in the coming months" during a hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security earlier this month, according to the New York Daily News.

As of now, only five precincts will be part of the program. Three of them are in Brooklyn, one in the Bronx and a fifth one covers Central Park.

Here's what we know of the program so far: all the tapped precincts will retrofit their stationhouse roof to support two separate drone platforms that the objects will be departing from and landing on. The person piloting the drones will be stationed at the NYPD Joint Operations Center in downtown Manhattan. That person will also be responsible for sending "video and telemetry to cops in the field," according to the paper.

As for where the drones will be deployed, they'll work in tandem with the ShotSpotter technology, specifically responding to alerts that have detected gun fire by flying over the location before a cop car could even arrive on the scene. 

"Officers will see what the drone sees in real time via their smartphones," an NYPD spokesman said to the Daily News

The program will, hopefully, give officers more information before they even get to a crime scene, simultaneously promoting their safety and deploying resources efficiently.

This isn't the first time that drones will be flying right above our heads—the NYPD currently has 85 that are usually deployed to cover major events like the Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop—but it's not often that the technological creations are used as part and parcel of the city's policing structure.

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