With the rise of deadly school shootings over the past few years, police agencies nationwide have ramped up security drills to prepare for the unthinkable. For the New York Police Department, preparation includes a scenario involving a drone attack.
Earlier this month, the NYPD conducted a joint drill with the Department of Homeland Security at a Brooklyn high school using a simulation that included multiple terrorist shooters, bombs and an attack (or at least surveillance) from a hobby drone.
As Gizmodo points out: “It wasn’t clear if the drone was supposed to represent a weaponized threat or merely a surveillance tool for the mock terrorists.”
According to a DHS press release, the drill employed “modeling software that allows the user to model threat vectors, launch points and potential distances that are possible during a UAS attack.”
During the drill, simulated victims told police, “Hey, they said something about a drone! I heard them talking upstairs about a drone!”
So far, no drone attacks by civilians have ever been recorded on U.S. soil. In one isolated case, a mechanical engineering student in Connecticut posted a YouTube video last year showing a modified drone firing a gun and flamethrower. However, the teen apparently did not violate any state laws.
It’s not surprising that the NYPD would help conduct a drill that cast drones as Die Hard level bad guys. Last year, reports indicated that the police department forwards drone violation reports to its counterterrorism unit even though violating the strict no-fly rule is only a misdemeanor.
“I think it’s safe to say the average person would be shocked to find out the Parks Department and the Police Department is compiling a watch list,” New York City Park Advocates President Geoffrey Croft said at the time. Park regulations now state that any information taken from a drone operator be kept in a database to send to the NYPD.
“We do an extensive background check. Our intel division gets involved. We run the background,” said Salvatore Di Pace, the NYPD’s Deputy Chief for Counter-Terrorism.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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