Leah Simpson – Daily Mail March 23, 2020
- Chula Police Department plans to fit the devices with speakers and night vision cameras to keep an eye on the community and make announcements
- California police captain said that with the community spread of coronavirus: ‘It might be impractical or unsafe for our officers to be put into those areas’
- Their devices are made by Chinese company DJI but US officials have been wary to use the countries drones due to possible security breeches
- Impossible Aerospace chief executive said he is currently ‘working like crazy’ with federal law enforcement agencies who require the devices
- Commercial Drone Alliance and other drone backers wants the FAA to relax rules concerning drone safety due to the epidemic and the need to socially distance
- Monday there were 1,539 cases and 39 coronavirus-related deaths in California
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Located south of San Diego, the Chula Vista Police Department has invested in two drones that cost $11,000 each and plan to fit the devices with speakers and night vision cameras after last week Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Police attending the scenes of crimes are having to risk their health by getting into close contact with people involved in an incident but the drones – which will join two previously purchased from Chinese company DJI – would give cops an extra pair of eyes from afar.
After Governor Newsom last week stated 60,000 homeless people are expected to be infected with COVID-19, the drones could help watch over people living on the streets amid the outbreak.
Speakers would help officers give orders from the sky rather than reporting to the scene.
‘The outbreak has changed my view of expanding the program as rapidly as I can,’ Captain Vern Sallee told the Financial Times.
‘We have not traditionally mounted speakers to our drones, but … if we need to cover a large area to get an announcement out, or if there were a crowd somewhere that we needed to disperse — we could do it without getting police officers involved.’
By Monday there were 1,539 confirmed cases and 39 coronavirus-related deaths in California.
Governor Newsom aims to gets the homeless in isolation using trailer parks and converted hotels, he announced on Facebook last week.
However homeless people themselves haven’t been able to access the frequent updates about coronavirus plans from the local government.