Transportation Security Administration (TSA) law enforcement and police departments from Connecticut, and New York recently partnered with the Connecticut State Police (CSP) to assess their ability to hunt and stop unauthorized drones from interfering with commercial aviation.
The teams ran scenarios at Hartford-Brainard Airport where they tested the state police department’s ability to locate a rogue drone as well as its operator by using law enforcement operated drones to find them.
“If you want to fully neutralize the threat from a drone, you need to locate the pilot as well as the device itself,” said Steve Blindbury, TSA’s Connecticut Assistant Federal Security Director for Law Enforcement.
The test showed the team’s ability to quickly find the drone and then guide police forces stationed on the ground to locate and order the operator to land the device.
“We know that it takes time to send out a plane or a helicopter to look for a drone that is in the proximity of an airport or in a flight path,” said Sgt. Eric Hurley, Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police Emergency Services Unit/Aviation Section. “Even though we anticipate adding detection equipment to our capabilities soon, we wanted to see if we could dispatch a police operated Unmanned Aviation System quick enough to locate the nefarious drone.”
The collaboration between the National Air Guard, New Haven Police Department, TSA Officers, Directors, Federal Air Marshals and the CSP was instrumental in being able to quickly identify and locate an unauthorized drone from the air with the use of another drone.
“It’s important for TSA elements across the nation to develop these forward leaning relationships with federal, state and local law enforcement in their Areas of Responsibility,” said Kimberley Thompson Supervisory Air Marshal in Charge of Law Enforcement Assessments Section/Unmanned Aircraft Systems. “In an incident involving a potential threat from a UAS incursion at an airport, we are going to need to leverage these partnerships in order to have a well-coordinated expeditious response to mitigate the threat to commercial aviation.”
The Connecticut State Police have several future exercises scheduled throughout 2021, and TSA will continue to play a role in supporting a partner agency as they hone their UAS mitigation strategies and techniques.