Newsroom - 10/10/2023

Drone Program to Enhance First Responder Capabilities

The City of Hackensack is proud to announce the implementation of an advanced Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) program, colloquially known as drones, to enhance law enforcement and public safety operations. These drones will play a pivotal role in assisting response to calls for service, search and rescue missions, accident and crime scene documentation, fleeing/hiding suspects, routine safety deployments, aerial photography, medical calls, and various other incidents where expedited public safety response is vital.

“We are excited to introduce this new program in Hackensack, which highlights our commitment to utilizing the latest technology to enhance public safety,” said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. “This program will allow us to respond swiftly and effectively to various emergencies, while maintaining the privacy and security of our residents.”

The primary focus of this initiative is the Drone as a First Responder (DFR) program, a best practice endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. DFR empowers the City to deploy drones to swiftly respond to public safety needs while upholding the privacy and civil liberties of Hackensack’s residents and workforce. The drones will be operated by trained members of the Police Department and Fire Department, aiding in rapid response to calls for service and fire alarm calls.

In adherence to privacy concerns, the City of Hackensack has implemented rigorous operational guidelines for the drones. Upon deployment, the drone will take off vertically to a predetermined altitude, established in agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), before proceeding to the call location. The drone’s camera will angle down only upon arrival at the designated destination to begin a thorough survey of the scene. During transit, the camera will not capture specific details and will not be pointed downward. The camera will be angled down only if a caller cannot accurately identify or communicate the location of the situation or if there is an ongoing search operation.

Residents are encouraged to contact the Hackensack Police Department at (201) 646-7777 if they have any concerns regarding the presence of drones in the airspace.