NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- In Brooklyn on Labor Day Weekend, a new police initiative is taking flight. Drones will be piloted by officers on the ground to help the NYPD manage one of the city's busiest parades.
"There's gonna be thousands of people here. This piece of tech can get anywhere in this precinct in seconds," said NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry.
Assistant Commissioner Daughtry and the agency's Technical Assistance Response Unit demonstrated what they describe as the latest tool in the arsenal on the eve of J'ouvert, the annual Brooklyn celebration that for so long has led to violent crime.
"Shots fired, person shot - they hear the call...drone is launched right to the scene. We're getting a birds eye view before the officer gets there," Daughtry added.
Drone operators can select up to 50 pre-recorded messages meant to disperse large crowds without the need for police. Or, commanders can be given the intelligence they need on where to deploy resources.
Privacy rights activists say the use of drones is just a new way to violate the rights of every day New Yorkers, who did nothing wrong.
"It's just to me absurd to think the solution to gun violence is having a big brother barbecue where the drone is showing up for dessert," said Albert Fox Cahn.
Mayor Eric Adams insisted on Friday that police will not be listening in on people's conversations or even pointing cameras at any place to which police have not actually been called. In some cases, the image may even convince supervisors to reduce their response.
"Not down flying into someone's yard to see what they have on the grill. They're going to utilize the drones to determine should they send crisis management teams to help mitigate the problem. We don't want police to be the only response," Adams said.
Police say they hope success means a safer celebration this weekend, and, maybe another every day tool as violent crime continues to drop.
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