There are a lot of opinions about drones, both good and bad. The unmanned aircraft have been widely used by militaries around the world, as well as for search and rescue missions, or even for recreational fun by citizens who want to get a good shot of their neighborhood from above.

They've also been used to survey storm damage and for disaster response, as well as to monitor wildlife and agriculture. Or, maybe for fireworks? 

According to the NYCLU, there are currently 530 active drone registrations by 85 different New York government entities across the state. According to information from the Federal Aviation Administration, 327 of those drones are operated by law enforcement in New York state.

Now, a new drone program, some are calling "unique", is coming to one city in New York state.

Schenectady Police to Use Drones as First Responders 

CBS says that the Schenectady City Council has given the Schenectady Police Department permission to develop their own ‘First Responder’ drone program, CBS says that the department will partner with Seattle's BRINC Drones, Inc. for the next six years, for just under $700K.

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Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy says that there are just a few of these kinds of programs across the country, where drones are used to go on calls. According to The Marshall Project, the Chula Vista, CA police became one of the first departments to use drones as first responders in 2018.

Schenectady Police Detective Sergeant Bradley Carlton told CBS that what makes this initiative different is now the police department can "send a drone to instead of actually having to send an officer in a vehicle."


But some are not so happy over the new initiatives. Critics say the programs lack enough regulations, and that the drones can be used to surveil and spy on citizens. Others say the flying machines are actually harmful to wildlife, and that they also can easily be hacked by criminals.


But the machines are not coming knocking on your doors in Schenectady just yet. Detective Carlton further explained that the new drones will be used for tactical situations in their first year, such as a subject barricading themselves.

After that first year, the drones be deployed on to first calls, says CBS. 

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Gallery Credit: Dan Bahl