The NYPD unveiled plans Tuesday to operate a fleet of more than a dozen drones to help fight crime in the Big Apple.
A department press release outlined the program, which will consist of 11 small quadcopter drones to be used for tactical operations, two larger quadcopter drones that will carry a zoom camera and capabilities for thermal imaging and mapping, and one quadcopter drone for training and testing.
The drones will be used for assisting police officers on the ground at crime scenes, HAZMAT incidents, search and rescue operations, and other incidents. What they will not be used for are routine patrols, traffic enforcement, and stopping fleeing suspects.
They also will not be armed.
"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.
"Our new UAS program is part of this evolution — it enables our highly trained cops to be even more responsive to the people we serve, and to carry out the NYPD's critical work in ways that are more effective, efficient, and safe for everyone."
The NYPD release claims more than 900 police, fire, and emergency units operate unmanned aerial vehicles for official use.
There have been concerns in recent years that drones could be used to attack Americans, which might lead to at least some law enforcement organizations having the authority to shoot down any drones they deem to be a threat.
In the coming years, modified versions of military drone aircraft may land at police departments nationwide.
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