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Drones Coming To NYPD?

Bratton ‘supportive’ of drones, in concept

At a City Council hearing on the police department’s proposed budget today, police commissioner Bill Bratton expressed some limited support for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“I’m supportive of the concept of drones,” Bratton told the council, in a response to a question from Councilman Corey Johnson of Manhattan.

Bratton said he supported drones for public safety and anti-terrorism efforts, and said they are “something we actively keep looking at.”

John Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and anti-terrorism, echoed Bratton’s interest.

“We’re not there yet,” Miller said, adding it is “something we will continue to look at.”

“The issue of drones has been looked at, in terms of what’s on the market, what’s available,” and “what would be the reasonable purposes” for using them, Miller said.

“We have no drones, we don’t use any drones, haven’t deployed any drones,” Miller added. “However, as the [Federal Aviation Administration] struggles with the emergences of drones as a law enforcement tool … it’s something we will continue to look at.”

Former police commissioner Ray Kelly said last year that he was interested in utilizing drones for the department.

“We’re looking into it,” Kelly said in an appearance at the 92nd Street Y in January of 2013. “Anything that helps us.”

Kelly said the use of drones was complicated by heavy air traffic in the city.

“The only thing we would do is maybe use the cheap $250 ones to take a look and see the size of the demonstration or something along those lines,” he said.

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