New York State Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan and Senator Martin J. Golden today announced that law enforcement agencies throughout the state will receive $10 million to invest in innovative technology to protect from emerging threats. The new funding will support initiatives that target Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – such as unauthorized drones - from entering and attacking designated protected spaces, while also making more resources available for law enforcement to utilize drone technology to prevent and investigate crimes.
Senator Flanagan said, “We need to make sure our police are able to keep up with the technological advances available that could benefit them, as well as those which could present new dangers that threaten our security. I thank Senator Golden for leading the charge in recognizing the need to address drones and provide support to our police so they can continue to protect us.”
Senator Golden, Chair of the Senate’s Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship Committee, said, “I want to thank all my colleagues for having this state take the lead in combatting this next generation of terroristic threats. This is a vital step in keeping New Yorkers safe from improvised explosive devises, radioactive dirty-bombs, and chemical and biological weapons - dangers that we currently have no effective ways of combatting if they are used against our most sensitive populations.”
New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said, “The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has become a fast-growing, potential tool for criminal and terrorist organizations. We appreciate the foresight of Senators Golden and Flanagan in understanding the need for research and development in ways to counter the illegal use of UAVs as weapons. In addition, we continue to study the various applications of UAVs for law enforcement, especially in the area of search-and-rescue. These funds should help the NYPD advance in both areas.”
Technology now exists to allow unauthorized UAS’s to be detected, interdicted, or destroyed before they enter sensitive airspace. State grants would be available to support initiatives that help create a “virtual fence” that bars unauthorized drones from entering designated protected areas such as sports stadiums, schools, hospitals, and government installations. This would help increase law enforcement’s ability to keep small UAS’s from carrying improvised explosive devices, radioactive dirty-bombs, and chemical or biological weapons that could target New Yorkers.
It is equally important to equip law enforcement with the best technology available and police departments across the country are increasingly using drones to help carry out their missions. Law enforcement agencies would also be able to use this new funding to purchase drone technology to provide instantaneous and coordinated aerial surveillance to help keep safe both their officers, and especially the public they so bravely serve.
The funding announced today was secured as part of the 2018-19 state budget as a result of the Senate’s advocacy, led by Senator Golden. Of the $10 million to be awarded, $4 million will be allocated for projects in coordination with the New York City Police Department and $6 million will be allocated to law enforcement agencies, including the State Police, for projects in other parts of the state following a solicitation for proposals.