New York City – The New York City Police Department announced plans to fly surveillance drones over the city this Labor Day weekend to monitor outdoor parties or barbecues following complaints about large gatherings according to Fox News.
The decision was revealed during a security briefing addressing J’ouvert, an annual Caribbean festival marking the end of slavery in which thousands of people take to the streets of Brooklyn.
Assistant NYPD Commissioner Kaz Daughtry said at a press conference Thursday that the drones will respond to “non-priority and priority calls.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams says he wants the NYPD to embrace the use of drones.
Now, the NYPD announces they will be using drones to check out complaints of large parties and gatherings this weekend. pic.twitter.com/Bcz31FAVXk
— Stephanie Myers (@_StephanieMyers) September 1, 2023
“For example, if we have any 311 calls on our non-emergency line, where if a caller states there is a large crowd, a large party in the backyard, we’re going to be utilizing our assets to go up, go check on the party, to make sure if the call is founded or not, and we’ll be able to determine how many resources we need to send to that location for this weekend,” Daughtry said. “We will have our drone team out there, starting tonight, all the way into Monday morning.”
The plan prompted criticism from privacy and civil liberties advocates who raised concerns about whether this use of drones violates existing laws on police surveillance.
New York City, like many other cities, has become increasingly reliant upon drones for policing practices. Data maintained by the city reveals that the police department has used drones 124 times so far this year, a significant jump from the four times they were used in the entirety of 2022.