Various police agencies nationwide have dispatched unmanned aerial units (UAVs) to remind residents of social distancing and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Elizabeth Police Department in New Jersey announced that it had secured five DJI Mavic 2 UAVs on loan through DJI’s Public Safety Disaster Relief Program. The drones will fly around the city with an automated message from the mayor reminding residents to stop gathering, disperse, and go home. It further warned that those who don’t comply could be fined up to $1,000.
In a follow-up post on Facebook addressing residents’ privacy concerns, the Police Department said, “we are trying to save lives, not trying to be big brother.” The PD added that there will be no recordings and no pictures taken.
The Daytona Beach, Fla., Police Department has also acquired two loaner drones from DJI to help disperse crowds and enforce closures and other social distancing measures, Click on Orlando reported. This reduces the need to send an officer to the area to deliver the same message. In addition, the department has its own drone that has a drop hook feature that can be used to drop off lifesaving materials, such as a life preserver in a lake, a box of gloves, or medication. The drone can also read a person’s body temperature.
Volusia County, Fla., is also using drones to see whether people are practicing social distancing and to test its intercom announcements. In a video posted on Facebook, one of its drones is shown at the beach, announcing, “This is the Volusia Sheriff’s Office. Please adhere to social distancing guidelines.”