Palm Beach Police will add two drones in a move to expand its crime-fighting ability.
Unveiling the plan recently to the Public Safety Committee, Police Chief Nicholas Caristo said the technology would make patrolling the town more efficient, especially at night.
Caristo said the department already has a Mavic Pro drone, which is equipped with a 4K video system and an HD camera that has the ability to zoom-in and record in daylight.
The department is buying a specialized DJI Enterprise Dual drone, which has a camera lens system that includes FLIR/infrared capabilities to search for people in the dark, spotlights and a loudspeaker to hail people in the surrounding area.
The new drone costs approximately $4,500, Caristo said.
In addition to helping officers do their job, the drones will prove valuable in helping the Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Department find hot spots in a burning building, Caristo said.
Officers who will operate the drones will receive extensive training in the operation, maintenance, and legal aspects surrounding the use of the drones from a law enforcement standpoint, the chief said. He also said that all operators will be licensed in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the drone day or night.
“The police department is developing a department policy that will be statutorily compliant and cover permitted uses to include evidence collection, photographing traffic crash scenes, crowd control, person searches and other warranted situations,” Caristo said.
“In all, the police department believes the implementation of both drones will allow for a better response to critical incidents and enhance the safety within the boundaries of the Town of Palm Beach.”