Since starting its drone program about a year ago, Bergen County's (N.J.) Office of Emergency Management has helped first responders pursue suspects and investigate fires more easily. The county currently owns two drones equipped with infrared cameras and two "training drones."
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) visited the the county last week for a briefing on the role of drones in emergency response. Booker introduced and sponsored the Commercial UAS Modernization Act last year, which pushes for looser federal regulations and expanding the use of drones.
Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration only allows licensed pilots to fly drones for government or business purposes. Bergen County's Office of Emergency Management is the first public agency in the state to receive an exemption from this policy.