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.
The Police Department said it would have 29 officers trained to operate its fleet of drones, which will not be equipped with weapons.
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). According to the NYPD, 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."