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Stoking Fears of Surveillance, NYPD to Deploy Drone Fleet

The nation's largest police department on Tuesday announced that it will soon deploy a newly acquired fleet of 14 drones to assist with emergencies.

By Dennis Romero

The nation's largest police department on Tuesday announced that it will soon deploy a newly acquired fleet of 14 drones to assist with emergencies.

And New York police officials went out of their way to assure civil libertarians that the unmanned aerial vehicles would not be used to peer into the lives of everyday New Yorkers.

"Let me be clear," Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters, "NYPD drones will not be used for warrantless surveillances."

The department said in a statement the devices would be used for searches and rescues, car crash investigations, crime scene documentation, evidence searches at hard-to-access locales, hazardous materials calls, monitoring crowds at large events, hostage and barricaded-suspect incidents, and "other emergency situations" so long as the chief of department approves.

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