COVID-19 Innovative Tech in US Law Enforcement: Virtual Response, Homeless Drones, & Draganfly

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact, within about 6 feet. The spread can predominantly happen when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby.

The highly contagious virus has made law enforcement agencies rethink how they can work with either minimal or no physical contact. Technology has certainly been playing a key role: 

911eye Service

Cellphone 911 Display

To enhance their monitoring abilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and to reduce person-to-person contact, the Fairfield Police Department has deployed a new software named 911eye.

This software enables the caller to live-stream video, send photos, and share their location directly from their phone’s camera to the police department’s dispatch center. 

“With police departments across the country trying to limit their officers’ public contacts because of the coronavirus, this technology will allow for our officers to not have to go into every location that a call for service has been received from. Instead, they will monitor the condition remotely until it is resolved,” said Fairfield Police Chief, Anthony Manna.

The platform is very user friendly; the callers don’t need to have anything extra installed on their phones. When they dial 911, the dispatcher texts a one-time encrypted link that, once clicked, provides access to the service with live streaming. After the call is finished, the user´s phone will not retain any of the information.

Homeless Drone Program

Homeless man

During this time of social distancing, the Chula Vista Police Department is using its drone to reach out to the homeless population. 

“Unsheltered persons are particularly vulnerable to the current pandemic and their safety and welfare are important in stopping the spread of the disease… Left without proactive communication and outreach, COVID-19 could spread in these populations and increase illness throughout our community,” stated Chula Vista Police Captain, Vern Sallee.

The department is using a DJI Mavic drone equipped with a loudspeaker to broadcast informative messages about the pandemic and the services that are available to help. 

“We are using the drone to communicate with this population for the first time in Chula Vista,” said Sallee.

The message is read in English and Spanish and the drone has already successfully covered eight square miles and reached 26 homeless encampments.

Connecticut´s Pandemic Drone

To keep community and officers safe, the Westport Police Department, in collaboration with Draganfly, has been testing drones to identify people’s social distances and body temperatures

“The Westport Police Department is one of the most progressive public safety agencies in the nation and real pioneers when it comes to adopting and integrating new technology to enhance the safety of their citizens and first responders,” said Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly.

The pandemic drone is equipped with a specialized sensor and computer vision system that can display people´s fever status, heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, and detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds. 

The technology can accurately detect the infectious conditions from a distance of 190 feet and measure social distancing for proactive public safety practices.

“This program has been tested for approximately five days… It’s anticipated that this will continue to be in effect through the summer months of July and August as we anticipate the need to continue to work to reinforce social distancing measures to limit and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” confirmed Westport Police Lt., Anthony Prezioso.

Draganfly is also working with the University of South Australia, who works closely with the Australian Department of Defense, to integrate and commercialize its early detection warning system.

This article has been written by Kustom Signals Inc, a US-based manufacturer of technology products such as police dash radar, dash cams, body cams, and speed guns for global law enforcement and military departments.

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