9 out of the 11 State Police Troops across New York will be equipped with Unmanned Aerial Systems or drones. The drones will be used for a variety of situations. Some of the main uses will be for traffic safety, documenting crime scenes, disaster response, and traffic re-constructions. There’s a wide variety of applications for this technology, and police are just starting to utilize the potential.
State Police Captain Scott Reichel talked about why the State has finally embraced the system.
"The evolution of technology has come to the point where it's available, it's affordable, and it's a very efficient means of getting an aerial observation platform up in the sky in a timely manner."
Sargent David Olney is a UAS Operator. He may be one of the first Troopers in the State to use the new equipment in a practical application. The Program was launched on January 11th, and the benefit of its use came only one day later.
"On January 12th we got called for the flooding in Whitesboro, and we went down and went to the first ice jam that was at the CSX bridge and did some filming there and within minutes found another ice jam that was downstream that no one had seen before so within just a matter of minutes we found a second ice jam."
Right now there are only 4 Troops equipped with UAS, but State Police expect to have all 9 equipped and trained by the end of March.