Officials hail state police launch of pilotless aircraft program

A drone operated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office flies during a demonstration of a search and rescue operation on Friday Aug. 14 2015

Sixteen of the drones provided for the work are being provided by the New York State Trooper Foundation.

Add drones to the arsenal of crime-fighting equipment used by state troopers.

The drones can be used to document and reconstruct serious motor vehicle accidents in less time that current methods, as well as to document and photograph crime scenes.

According to a press release from the governor's office, the new State Police Unmanned Aerial System program will provide aerial drones to four state police troops: Troop A, Troop D, Troop F and Troop G. Onondaga County - along with Jefferson, Lewis, Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, Madison and Oswego counties - is part of Troop D.

State Police say they want people to know that they won't use the drones for surveillance.

The first four drones will begin service this month, including one in Troop A, which serves eight counties in Western New York, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties among them.

Among the benefits listed for the use of drones were reduced costs compared to manned aircraft, improved response times and increased efficiency in operations. The New York State Trooper Foundation is donating 16 of the aerial drone systems to the state police.

State Police officers entering the UAS program will be required to undergo 32 hours of hands-on training and achieve Federal Aviation Authority certification. The foundation was established to assist the state police advancing training, safety education, special public and professional services and programs and police technology in NY.

The use of drones by state police is another example of state agencies taking advantage of the new technology.

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