The NOPD has announced plans to begin using Small Unmanned Aircraft System technology (sUAS), commonly referred to as drone technology, that will assist the agency as both a force multiplier and a crime-fighting tool.
The department will also be seeking public input as policy for use of this technology is being drafted and will also host an upcoming public event to demonstrate the technology.
sUAS technology would be utilized by the NOPD for uses such as grid searches, weather events, disaster response, accident reconstruction and more, thereby allowing for scenes to be cleared quicker and free up officers who can respond to other emergency scenes. This new, cutting-edge technology will only be deployed in certain scenarios and serve as a more efficient, cost-effective, and safer alternative to documenting scenes, while simultaneously capturing images and aerial documentation that present a true and accurate representation of the scene for investigators.
Before the implementation of this new technology, the NOPD is soliciting feedback from the community on draft departmental policy regarding Unmanned Aircraft Systems. There will be a week-long public comment period from November 21-December 1, 2023, for soliciting community feedback on the draft policy. The draft policy can be viewed at https://nola.gov/nopd/policies/. Community feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sUAS draft policy is being constructed with input from both the Department of Justice and from the Federal Consent Decree Monitors.
On Tuesday, November 28, the NOPD will host an event at 6:00 p.m. at the NOPD Training Academy, 4650 Paris Ave., where community members can get a first-hand look at the sUAS technology to be used by the NOPD.
The sUAS program will help the NOPD to gather crucial information as situations unfold without putting officers at risk and lessening harm and danger to civilian bystanders and other involved parties. SUAS technology will be a tool that NOPD can deploy in select circumstances to help keep those who live, work, and visit New Orleans safe, and enhance officer safety.
All flights will be conducted in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations as well as NOPD policies and procedures. The newly acquired sUAS will be used by NOPD officers who have received training on FAA regulations related to unmanned flight and are licensed pilots in the operation of sUAS.
The NOPD fully respects the privacy rights of all New Orleans residents and visitors; sUAS will not be utilized for any purpose not outlined in NOPD policies and procedures.