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NYPD Using Drones To Monitor Labor Day Weekend Gatherings, West Indian American Day Parade



Courtesy of NYPD via Instagram
The New York City Police Department on Thursday announced it would be using drones over the Labor Day holiday weekend to monitor outdoor parties, gatherings and barbecues.
During a press briefing on Thursday, police officials discussed safety measures for the annual West Indian American Day Parade and J’Ouvert festival, which takes place in Brooklyn on Labor Day.
The parade, which celebrates the Caribbean diaspora and attracts around 2 million people, is also known for having a heavy police presence.
“We’re going to be utilizing drones, for this J’Ouvert weekend,” said NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry. “The drones are going to be responding to non-priority calls and priority calls,” including 311 calls about large or loud backyard parties.
“We’re gonna be utilizing our assets to go up, to go check on the party,” Daughtry said, to determine whether the complaint is founded and how many resources to send.
He said the NYPD’s drone teams would begin those operations Thursday night, and continue through the holiday.
But some New Yorkers on social media said they don’t like the idea of police drones buzzing their backyards.
The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology, or POST Act, is a city law passed in 2020 that requires the NYPD to disclose its use of surveillance technologies and the impacts of that use.
Safety and security expert Bill Stanton said the NYPD’s deployment of drones in this fashion makes sense “in theory and in perfect practice.”
“Properly adhering to privacy laws and practices, it’s another tool in the law enforcement ‘utility belt’ to combat crime and ensure the safety and security of those they have sworn to protect and serve,” Stanton said. “My only reservation is the possibility of abuses, both inadvertent and systematic.”
Stanton said abuse of the technology could be undertaken not just by the NYPD, but by other city departments to generate income by targeting “scofflaws” on civil violations with fines attached, like a “modern day speed trap.”
“Hopefully these drones will be used prudently, safely and legally,” Stanton said.
TMX contributed to this article.