Schenectady Police to Launch Innovative ‘First Responder’ Drone Program

Introducing Drones to Enhance Emergency Response

Schenectady Department is set to revolutionize its emergency response system by adding a fleet of advanced drones to its toolkit.

Police Chief Eric Clifford has announced plans for these police drones to assist in various non-violent and quality-of-life incidents, aiming to address criticism of slow response times. The drones are expected to be operational by the fall.

Immediate Benefits: Evidence Gathering and Situational Awareness

Clifford envisions these drones to provide immediate assistance in gathering evidence and assessing the true nature of unfolding events.

The ability to deploy drones quickly to a scene will offer critical situational awareness, potentially altering how officers respond to various situations.

This technology could be crucial in understanding and managing crime scenes that span multiple locations.

Partnership with Brinc for Advanced Drone Technology

Schenectady Police have identified , a Seattle-based public safety technology company, as their partner for this initiative.

The company's advanced drones come with night vision, the ability to open doors, break glass, and produce 3D maps.

These capabilities are a significant upgrade from the current drones used by the city police.

Six-Year Agreement and Financials

The City Council has approved a six-year deal with Brinc, valued at approximately $695,000.

This agreement includes an unlimited repair-and-replacement warranty, software, and hardware upgrades for at least three Brinc drones, and the innovative Brinc Balls for two-way communication.

A FEMA grant of nearly $40,000 will help cover part of the cost for the first year.

Multifaceted Use of Drones

While primarily envisioned for policing, the drones' utility extends to public safety in general. They could be used by the fire department and code-enforcement officers.

The drones will be featured on medical calls and used to assess crowd sizes, demonstrating their versatility as a public safety tool.

Addressing Privacy Concerns and Regulations

Chief Clifford is reportedly collaborating with 's Civil Liberties Union to draft rules and regulations for drone usage, ensuring privacy rights are preserved.

He emphasizes that the department will respect the preferences of callers who insist on speaking to a police officer in person.

Unique ‘First Responder' Drone Program

Detective Sergeant Bradley Carlton of the Schenectady Police Department highlighted the uniqueness of this program. In the initial phase, tactical drones called Lemur 2 will be used in situations like barricaded subject calls.

These drones can break glass, offer two-way communication, and even carry a cell phone into a building if necessary.

Future Plans and Expansion

The program's subsequent phase will introduce drones that can autonomously respond to calls from designated city locations.

Mayor Gary McCarthy envisions these drones eventually responding to non-police emergency calls, such as fires.

Implementation Timeline

Approved on Tuesday, the drones are expected to be in action by the end of next year or early 2025. This program represents a significant step forward in integrating advanced technology into emergency response, potentially setting a precedent for other cities to follow.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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