The St. Petersburg, Florida Police Department deployed drone detection for the 2022 Firestone Grand Prix, a 1.8-mile, 14-turn IndyCar motor race circuit that incorporates streets of downtown St. Petersburg and a section of the runway of Albert Whitted Airport.

An international event, the Firestone Grand Prix is equivalent to the Super Bowl or World Series for the St. Petersburg community. The 2022 Grand Prix saw a record attendance of 140,000 spectators, up 49% from 2019. Chief Anthony Holloway at the St. Petersburg Police Department says the event “requires a strong police presence to ensure the safety of our citizens and all participants in the race.”

There’s a significant public safety risks from malicious drones, as recently seen at airports, stadiums or public events. To help protect against illegal drones in the no-fly zone, the St. Petersburg Police Department needed a multi-layered, agile and adaptive security solution to quickly address airspace security needs and ensure the protection of people, property and information from drone threats.

With DedroneRapidResponse, a portable detection unit, the St. Petersburg Police Department was able to pinpoint and track several drones simultaneously and obtain insights into its load and the pilot’s location.  

“We are proud to be the first police department in the U.S. to deploy such sophisticated technology as part of our larger commitment to ensuring that our entire community remains safe and secure,” Chief Holloway says.

Drone detection provides a critical capability to ensure public safety at large events, including sports, parades, concerts, large gatherings, crime scenes, police activity and more.