“Drone Force Philly”: Mayor Parker’s Plan to Boost Public Safety with Police Drones

In her recent budget proposal, Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L. Parker has allocated $2.7 million towards police drone technology as part of an effort to improve public safety in the city. This investment, dubbed “Drone Force Philly,” has been met with applause from some, including cybersecurity attorney and former City Council candidate Drew Bagley, who presented a similar plan during his campaign last year, reports The Philadelphia Enquirer.

Drones Offer Potential to Deter Crime and Save Lives

Bagley argues that drones can be an effective tool in fighting crime, as they can respond to violent incidents and drug transactions in real-time, providing a “colorblind approach to policing” that focuses on criminal activity rather than individual characteristics. He believes that, if used properly with appropriate privacy safeguards, drones have the potential to save lives and reduce violence and drug deaths in Philadelphia.

“Drones used effectively will help to protect communities in our city that are crying out for help, like mine in Strawberry Mansion, where two people were killed and six shot in a mass shooting this January.” – Drew Bagley

Current State of Philadelphia's Drone Program

According to a memo from the Philadelphia Department, the city currently has only two operational drones. Mayor Parker's proposed investment marks a significant step forward in expanding the use of for law enforcement purposes. Bagley's “Drone Force Philly” plan goes even further, advocating for a fleet of drones to be deployed in all 21 police precincts, with dedicated staff for monitoring and IT support.

Evidence of Effectiveness from Other Cities

The use of drones by police departments has shown promising results in other cities. In Tijuana, , drone deployment led to over 500 arrests and a 10% decrease in overall crime rates. The Police Department and Beverly Hills Police Department have also reported significant decreases in crime after implementing drone programs.

Balancing Public Safety and Privacy Concerns

While the potential benefits of are clear, concerns around privacy must also be addressed. Bagley's plan includes statutory safeguards such as requiring drones to be used within the line of sight, setting flight-height requirements, and prohibiting the use of facial recognition software. As the city moves forward with investing in drone technology, it will be crucial to strike a balance between enhancing public safety and protecting individual privacy rights.

In conclusion, Mayor Parker's “Drone Force Philly” budget proposal to invest in technology represents a significant step towards leveraging advanced tools to combat crime and violence in Philadelphia. With appropriate guidelines and oversight, drones have the potential to support understaffed police forces, deter criminal activity, and ultimately save lives in communities across the city.

Featured photo courtesy of Billy Kyle.

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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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