The Hamden Police Department in Connecticut is planning to use coronavirus-related grand money to purchase PPE, cleaning supplies, a storage shed, and… a drone. They plan to buy a DJI Matrice 300 RTK to be precise.
Hamden Police Department plans to buy DJI Matrice 300 RTK with coronavirus-related grant money
The New Haven Independent reports that the Hamden Legislative Council voted last week to accept an $82,363 Coronavirus-related grant from the US Department of Justice to buy, among other things, a DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance FY 20 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program was created to aid state and local law enforcement agencies with the costs of Covid-19.
The most expensive, and least coronavirus-related, item on the list is the DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone with camera attachments, accessories, warranties, and training that will cost about $33,500. An unmanned aircraft it's not a typical tool in a government's arsenal to fight the coronavirus, however it is still eligible for purchase with the grant.
The drone will be mostly used for Search and Rescue operations, said Police Chief John Sullivan. The grant money was an opportunity for the police department to acquire the unmanned aircraft without having to pay out-of-pocket. The M300 can also be used to map accident and crime scenes, analyze traffic, or even make announcements by mounting a PA system to the aircraft.
Hamden council members, Justin Farmer and Brad Macdowall were wary of the benefits and said they opposed the purchase because of the drone's potential for surveillance use.
Commission Chair Michael Iezzi reportedly said he would take the opinions of members of the public, and council members, into account.
“Of course I have consideration for the council as members of the town on what their concerns are,” he said. “But it's overall what's in the best interest of the town” that will influence how the commission votes.
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