Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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Peekskill Police Department goes high-tech with drone


Johansen adjusts the $5,000 drone

PEEKSKILL – The Peekskill Police Department is adding another tool to its tool kit for law enforcement and protection with a $5,000 drone donated by a local business.

Owners of Crescent Consulting Company presented the device to city Police Chief Eric Johansen.

“We’ve noticed that some of the police departments across the country are actually going towards drones and how they help them with crowd control, traffic control, search and rescue and things like that,” said company principal Luis Segerra. “I wanted to do something special for the police department to help take them to that level of service to the community.”

Police Chief Eric Johansen said although other small departments, such as New Rochelle, have utilized drones, he believes this technology, which was at one time infeasible, will begin to set a precedent for local law enforcement technology.

“I see that in the future more and more police agencies, our size and even smaller, will find themselves acquiring this type of technology,” the chief said. “It’s just something that five years ago it was there, it was cost prohibitive; but, 20 years ago, it was unheard of and it really does enhance the safety of, not only the police officers, but allows us to enhance the safety of the public and provide a greater ability to protect them during any number of situations.”.

Johansen acknowledges that there may be fear of this technology being abused, but he assures there will be complete oversight and there will absolutely be no infringements on the rights of the public, i.e. unwarranted surveillance.

Officers will have to become FAA certified, there will be regular audits, the device will not be used without direct permission from his office and a long chain of command protocol will be adhered to for drone usage. The bottom line, Johansen said, is this is a technology meant to facilitate the increased safety of the public.

Johansen is hopeful that trained Peekskill officers will be using the drone in the field within one to three months.

 


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