Police in West Seneca adopt drone technology

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WKBW) - It's a sound and sight that will soon be familiar with members of one Western New York police department -- a drone.

It will be flying the skies of West Seneca to help officers solve crimes and keep the community safe.

“We had a $10,000 grant from the state and I spent $9,994.99,” said Lieutenant John McNamara, when referring to the cost of the drone and equipment.

The grant, secured by State Senator Patrick Gallivan, helped purchase the drone.

West Seneca Police have been training for eight months on how to use this new technology, which officers say will assist in many different police missions including search and rescues, creek levels during flooding and crime scene analysis.

The drone is equipped to drop items to those in need, such as a during a hostage situation.

“We can put a cell phone in if we need to deliver this to someone in need, during a hostage situation which will help our hostage negotiators maintain communication with them,” said Lt. McNamara.

The drone can travel up to 400 feet high, with a speed up to 50 miles per hour, with a rotating camera that captures video from all angles.

“It gives a different perspective, a different view, say of a fire scene, it can give the investigators an indicator of where the fire started,” according to Lt. McNamara. “Accident investigation, that can be used to show the weather conditions at the time of an accident.”

The department is ready to start flying, but is waiting for final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use the drone at night.

Officers expect paperwork in the next few days.

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