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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Cops will start using DRONES fitted with night-vision cameras to patrol neighborhoods and catch people breaking stay-at-home rules

A Southern California police department will use drones to monitor the community amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
Chula Vista Police Department has invested in two drones costing $11,000 each. They can be deployed in reports of dangerous subjects, fires, and traffic accidents before authorities arrive
They plan to fit the devices from Chinese company DJI with speakers and night vision cameras to keep an eye on the community and make announcements
They plan to fit the devices from Chinese company DJI with speakers and night vision cameras to keep an eye on the community and make announcements
It will allow cops to social distance while monitoring the neighborhood amid the coronavirus outbreak
It will allow cops to social distance while monitoring the neighborhood amid the coronavirus outbreak
Chula Vista cops unveil fleet of DRONES to be used as first responders
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Above the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and related deaths in the US is shown as of Monday
Above the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and related deaths in the US is shown as of Monday 
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.
Drones will arrive on the scene ahead of police who can then assess the situation from afar
Drones will arrive on the scene ahead of police who can then assess the situation from afar
They can be deployed in reports of dangerous subjects, fires, and traffic accidents before authorities arrive. Pictured is an example of how the Chula Police have used a drone before
They can be deployed in reports of dangerous subjects, fires, and traffic accidents before authorities arrive. Pictured is an example of how the Chula Police have used a drone before
'We need to tell them we actually have resources for them -- they are vulnerable right now,' Sallee said. 'It might be impractical or unsafe for our officers to be put into those areas.'
The Chula Vista Police Department drones can fly from the rooftop of the Police Department Headquarters and reach the location of 911 calls ahead of cops. They can be deployed in reports of dangerous subjects, fires, and traffic accidents.
Chula Vista Police Department police chief Sallee said that with the community spread of coronavirus: 'It might be impractical or unsafe for our officers to be put into those areas'
Chula Vista Police Department police chief Sallee said that with the community spread of coronavirus: 'It might be impractical or unsafe for our officers to be put into those areas'
They started the operation back in October 2018 and send the drones out about 10 to 15 times a day. But a collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is needed more now than ever.
But the FAA must look at how drones can be used safely beyond the sight of a pilot or autonomously.
'This crisis could be a catalyst to spur the FAA to free up resources faster,' the police captain said.
DJI's vice-president of policy and legal affairs, Brendan Schulman, opined the FAA 'should readily grant waivers on restrictions that might impede beneficial operations'.
The executive director of the Commercial Drone Alliance agreed.
'There are many use cases for drones that can aid the nation,' said Lisa Ellman told the Financial Times.
The non-profit group has support from the likes of dronemaker Skydio, Alphabet's Wing unit, as well as Apple, AT&T, and Uber.
After the outbreak from Wuhan, Chinese officials have been seen using drones to watch over the community which has bounced back after a lockdown.
However US officials have warned of possible security breeches from Chinese drone makers.
Impossible Aerospace, which makes drones in America, and helps first responders in their work, could help.
Chief executive, Spencer Gore, told the Financial Times he is currently 'working like crazy' with federal law enforcement agencies who require the devices. Gore said he could not name the agencies.
'What we saw in China, and what we're probably going to see around the world, is using drones with cameras and loudspeakers to fly around to see if people are gathering where they shouldn't be, and telling them to go home,' Gore predicted. 'It seems a little Orwellian but this could save lives.' 
Police in the French Riviera city have also teamed up with a private drone operator. Soon a second drone may be deployed further along the coast, in Cannes.
Armed with a loudspeaker, the drone whirrs above some of the city's most popular locations, reminding citizens of the government's confinement order.
France has told citizens to stay indoors except to buy food, go to work or seek medical help, as it fights one of the fastest-growing coronavirus epidemics in Europe. President Emmanuel Macron has expressed frustration that people are not taking public health orders seriously.
Drones could be of use on highly populated states such as New York where about half of the confirmed cases are from. 
A local resident using a drone sprays disinfectant at a village in Pingdingshan, in China's central Henan province on January 31 during the virus outbreak in Hubei's city of Wuhan
A local resident using a drone sprays disinfectant at a village in Pingdingshan, in China's central Henan province on January 31 during the virus outbreak in Hubei's city of Wuhan
Man takes his dog for a walk using a DRONE during coronavirus lockdown
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This weekend people were spotted gather in parks and at markets before the lockdown from Governor Andrew Cuomo was enforced Sunday at 8pm.  
Also on the East Coast, in Philadelphia, police have been ordered to delay arresting suspects for non-violent crimes to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The new, temporary policy calls for people arrested for petty crimes like theft or breaking and entering to be detained, and police can take their information and initiate paperwork. The suspect will be arrested later on a warrant.
The policy is meant to minimize the contact Philadelphia police officers make with suspects.
The Los Angeles County Police Department has reduced its daily arrested from 300 to 60. The county also released 600 prisoners since February. 
In Baltimore, Mayor Jack Young pleaded with residents to stop the violence.
'We cannot clog up our hospitals and their beds with people that are being shot senselessly because we’re going to need those beds for people infected with the coronavirus.
'And it could be your mother, your grandmother or one of your relatives. So take that into consideration,' he said.
Sunday in New York it was confirmed rapist Harvey Weinstein had contracted the illness. The inmate has been moved into isolation at Wende Correctional Facility where two others have COVID-19
Sunday in New York it was confirmed rapist Harvey Weinstein had contracted the illness. The inmate has been moved into isolation at Wende Correctional Facility where two others have COVID-19
In a bid to prevent the spread, New York will release 40 prisoners depending on their medical history and risk to society. File image shows a sign of Rikers Island
In a bid to prevent the spread, New York will release 40 prisoners depending on their medical history and risk to society. File image shows a sign of Rikers Island
Coronavirus has hit prisons too.
This weekend California's first inmate tested positive. 
Sunday in New York it was confirmed rapist Harvey Weinstein had contracted the illness. The inmate has been moved into isolation at Wende Correctional Facility where two others have COVID-19.
New York City's Legal Aid Society previously issued a letter asking the Board of Corrections to lay out a plan of action to lower the risk of prison inmates from contracting coronavirus.
'Unlike people in free society, incarcerated people have no access to water or soap for hand washing, or capacity to seek physical distance, except with the overt assistance of their jailers', they wrote.
In a bid to prevent the spread, New York will release 40 prisoners depending on their medical history and risk to society. 

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