Today the NYPD announced its Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program, which will be comprised of newly acquired Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or drones, and the licensed NYPD officers of the Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) who will operate them. Whether it’s a search and rescue mission, an inaccessible crime scene, a hostage situation, or a hazardous material incident, this technology will undoubtedly help keep New Yorkers and officers safe. These devices will be deployed solely by licensed members of TARU who have gone through vigorous training.
The Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) provides specialized investigative equipment and tactical support to all bureaus within the NYPD, from officers on patrol to the Emergency Service Unit (ESU). The unit’s expertise in audio/visual technology helps: enhance investigations through the recovery of surveillance video footage; record police action at large-scale demonstrations and arrest situations; and provide crucial live video to incident commanders during ongoing emergency situations.
“As the largest municipal police department in the United States, the NYPD must always be willing to leverage the benefits of new and always-improving technology,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “Our new UAS program is part of this evolution – it enables our highly-trained cops to be even more responsive to the people we serve, and to carry out the NYPD’s critical work in ways that are more effective, efficient, and safe for everyone.”
This cutting edge technology is another tool that the NYPD can deploy in select circumstances to help keep New Yorkers safe, and also enhance officer safety. The UAS program can help NYPD gather crucial information as situations unfold without putting officers at risk and lessen harm and danger to civilian bystanders and other involved parties.
Across the country there are more than 900 state and local police, fire and emergency units with UAVs. During the NYPD’s research and development stage, NYPD officials met with other police departments to learn about their programs. Additionally, the Department solicited feedback from City Council members and advocates.