Is The NYPD Experimenting With Drones Over The City? Evidence Points To Yes

Miami, Cities In Texas Also Said To Be Trying This New Way To Be Eye In The Sky

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They’re used in war zones for surveillance and military strikes.

But are there plans to deploy drones in the Big Apple to keep an eye on New Yorkers?

More and more people believe it’s inevitable, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

Drones are unmanned aircraft that can fly at low altitudes and shoot live video — or shoot live missiles.

Surveillance cameras already dot the city’s streets, but is the NYPD exploring the use of even more eyes in the skies, in the form of drones? Some evidence points to yes.

A website named Gay City News posted an e-mail it says it acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. It’s purportedly from a detective in the NYPD counterterrorism division, asking the Federal Aviation Administration about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as a law enforcement tool.

And the following is part of a recent interview with Commission Ray Kelly that raised more questions than it answered.

“In an extreme situation, you would have some means to take down a plane,” Kelly told “60 Minutes.”

Drones are already being used by law enforcement in other cities. CBS 2 has obtained footage of a huge protest in Poland a few months ago, shot by a small drone that could fly a few dozen feet right over the heads of the crowd and the police. High-resolution cameras can capture every detail, including faces and license plate numbers. In this country, Miami and several cities in Texas are experimenting with such aircraft.

“We’re always looking at technology,” said NYPD Spokesman Paul Browne. “Drones aren’t that exotic anymore. Brookstone sells them. We’ve looked at them but haven’t tested or deployed any.”

Former NYPD officer Gary Weksler said drones make sense.

“Not only would it be a form of intelligence gathering to protect the public, it also in many respects removes the officers, who might be attempting to identify issues, from harm’s way,” Weksler said.

But some are concerned about the invasion of privacy. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a 16-page report citing the growth of the use of drones and the lack of laws protecting citizens from airborne intrusions.

Just the mere possibility that the city could be looking into the use of drone surveillance aircraft prompted one anonymous New Yorker to post official looking NYPD warning signs all over the city.

Some say: “Attention, authorized drone strike zone.”

One Dahler found on Mercer Street said: “Local statutes enforced by drone.”

Given the city’s aggressive use of emerging technologies to stay one step ahead of terrorists, security experts say they’d be surprised if it does not pursue further use of drones.

Small drone aircraft can cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

According to the New Yorker, those bogus NYPD warning signs were put up by an Iraq War veteran who operated Army drones during the war and objects to their use by civilian police.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

  • Archon

    Coming soon to a police state near you…

    • Richard Halloran

      This is also coming soon to a nation near you. Search Youtube: walter cronkite hillary clinton. Watch the video and listen to them in their own words talk about wanting to destroy the sovereignty of nations (including the USA) for a world government.

    • Carter Goldwater

      Our government is behaving like terrorists…in collusion with corporations who want to keep people down to exploit them. We need to clean house.

      • Marshmont Montgomery

        This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector. ~ Plato

        • carl

          Haha. “Tyrant Spring”. We oughtta coin that. (though with an entirely different connotation). Coz it sure seems like this is becoming a tyrant Spring. :-/

      • Tom

        THE ONLY QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ASKED: Is this the kind of place we want to live in? Every other country that put in place police state measures like this, never turned out well.

  • diplomacy

    The footage of the drones in Poland is actually not of Police operated Drones but of Drones used by citizens to monitor the police.

    • Smokey the Bear

      Crime is way down in NYC compared to the 70’s.

      Sounds like the police are the true criminals now, maybe these drones should follow the police while THEY are off duty, collecting bribes.

  • J

    NYC has police helicopters, right? How are drones any different with the exception one has a pilot and the other doesn’t?

    • John

      I am sure the Pilots are unhappy about having Drones that can be operated by any new rookie cop that played Xbox half his life. They will have to return to Patrol and work like the rest of us with no meal.

    • Kathleen3

      The absence of a pilot translates to one less person who can attest to the fact that the wannabe despot, Bloomberg, and his compliant sidekick, Kelly, sit back and observe the hordes of illegal aliens who have been granted de facto amnesty by both men. One less witness is one less person who can testify to their dereliction of duty, aiding and abetting, and violation of their oaths of office.

  • Don Murray

    PressWarp, the new media information portal that puts all the vital elements together. What the mainstream is NOT designed to do. Support alternative media and get others in touch with reality while it is not against the law! Support the movement of reality.

  • Amarican Girl

    WHAT TERRORISTS?! Has their conditioning worked on us enough yet? Before 9/11, the word terror was only connected to horror movies, but now “they” have drilled that word into the subconcious, to the degree that most (unthinking) people believe it is a threat, even though not ONE measure of establishment interference into our lives had made anyone safer. In fact, we are, from all sides, losing our freedoms, for the sake of security from an elusive enemy… terror! OMG… wake up before there is no turning back

    • Cosmo

      Great Post! So true…

      Hey! These things would make for good target practice.

  • Mike Blackshear

    There isn’t enough crime in New York to warrant this.

    For a big city, New York has a very low crime rate.

    And nation-wide, crime rates have seen a 20% decrease over the last 20 years.

    • Bunky

      They are not out to control criminals.
      That’s too hard.
      It’s the citizens that have the money that they want to control.
      It starts with them taking your liberty, in the end, they take everything.

  • Bo Wring

    NYPD needs drones?

    Based on last night’s debate performance, they might want to see when Brian Williams’ contract expires…

  • Von D

    Civilians should start building stingers (anti air surveillance weapon).

    That would be awesome then some of the younger generations could put their Battlefield and Call of Duty game experience to work.

    Beep beep beep, DESTROYED!

  • ok now

    @@@ “”“In an extreme situation, you would have some means to take down a plane,” Kelly told “60 Minutes.”””””@@@ wow so a few fake passports, the old Al-cia-duh buggi man threat and you can bring down a plane in a packed city . the sheeple will lap this stuff up by the bucket load.

  • Lefty McGee

    It totally sucks that America is becoming a police state/surveillance state.

    • scorp

      Yes. It looks like they’re really starting to implement it now.

  • Old person going out soon

    As more young people are born into a 24/7 electronic observation world they get used to it.
    Gee,how did I ever live in the 1940’s with a World War at that without all
    this big brother junk here in NYC.?

  • CaviarEmptor

    I do NOT trust a govt whose president signs into law the power to jail US citizens without trial and a lawyer until war is over and then lies about being for those powers he signed into law. Senator Carl Levin let it slip on the senate floor that the Obama White House demanded the fascist power. Web Search for article with video proof (Infowars should come up as the first link): Indefinite Detention Bill Heads To Obama’s Desk As White House Drops Veto Threat

  • teeater

    this goes quite hand in hand with experiments in the European Union, see here an example in Germany, this particular drone was used for surveillance of anti-nazi protest participants (!) in Dresden, thousands of ppl blocking a march of Nazis

  • Bill Rind

    people need to start shooting them down if they see them, dismantle them and burn it.

    • Resist Oppression

      You’re a true patriot Bill.

      • rad


    • I hate Dumb A****

      The really cool thing about a drone is its High res video capability. So go ahead and shoot one down. When the police show up to your door step and take you away for destruction of police property I want you publicly admit you are a bona fide dumb a**! That is all…

      • I REALLY hate Dumb A*****

        That’s why they created “masks”. You dumb #*&^. Stop calling people stupid when you alone are the one with the inability to think.

        • The bigger man

          There are still people around who, I imagine, would report such an instance. I feel that it is frowned upon to discharge a firearm in a city. To top all of this off is that cameras are capable of seeing more than just a face. Cameras are able to see things such as cloths, skin color, scars, tattoos and more. If a MAV were to be taken down I am sure it would be noticed and police would be dispatched tot he area for the destruction of property. Maybe I am just crazy though. It is not really that big of an issue other than the waste of money imo.

    • scorp

      They’ll be surveiling you, how could you get away with it? You’re actually powerless to rebel against this type of stuff. Other than that, people can just totally not cooperate with the system–go on strike, in an Occupy Wall Street fashion. There are more good people than bad, and the good people will (eventually) triumph, because they are way in the majority.

      • rad

        History shows this is not true…would rather be dead than a slave…

  • Snitch-in-Time

    I suppose it all depends on how drones are used. If drones are employed like other air assets there is little problem. Using a thermal equipped drone during an active man hunt differs little from using FLIR equipped helicopters. Also, the Fire Department using thermal imaging drones to start scannine a structure prior to arrival of the fire fighters would have no civil liberties implication. Now if drones are used for covert survailence where no crime has been reported or pursuit is in progress, then I would suggest there is a 4th Amendment problem. One way out might be a requirement that drones used by civil magistrates make a noise signature as big as that made by helicopters. Leaving stealth technology to the military would reduce gratuitous use by civil authorities.

  • Izzydunne

    Police State!

  • B

    Sorry, NY but at this point you people had it coming. You keep voting people into office who do this crap. Get out now while you can.

    • Izzydunne

      Republicans and Democrats love a Police State.

    • rad


  • slickzip

    When you are on a public street you have no right of privicy

    • B

      Aren’t you a good little slave?

    • Izzydunne

      Bow to Zod.

      • Exotica

        Kneel before Zod.

    • Sterling Grey

      Having “no expectation of privacy” does not include being tracked and followed by bots and drones or being subjected to biometric technologies including facial-recognition, iris scanning and database profiling.

      If I follow you through every turn on the public streets constantly snapping your photo and shooting video of you, while tracking your location, movements and behavior, I’m pretty sure you’d consider it invasion of privacy and call the police to have me stopped; then sue me for emotional distress and harassment.

      But when the government does it ‘for your protection’ you OK with that? How quaint!

      • rad

        HAH! Anther GREAT POINT! lotsa smart peeps here!!!

  • carl

    The police used to watch over the people, now they watch the people.
    bloomberg’s army

  • Stephen H. Weiner

    How long before predator drones are here?

    • rad

      Stay tuned…

  • slickzip

    When you are on public street or in a public place you have no expectation of privacy

    • Michael Ventry

      TROLL MUCH ????

      • I Hate Dumb As***

        Lick Corn Holes much????

    • Starchild

      When I’m on a public street or in a public place, I have the expectation of FREEDOM.

      The more we let government surveil and spy on us, the less free we become.

      If you love freedom, the standard you should be seeking is to make government as open and transparent as possible, while protecting the privacy of ordinary citizens as much as possible.

      Stand up for your rights, Ron Paul for president!

  • keithd561

    I thought this kind of thing only happened in the “Terminator” movies.

  • signspeaker

    Done deal, if it’s in the paper.

  • djw663

    Is this why the show “Person of Interest” came out to forshadow gov’t spying on us.
    New York the land of the bound and the home of the brave.

  • eilspaul

    i have no doubt that the charlotte city council, hizzoner foxx, and the white house (as well as their b of a bankrollers) are all reading this and saying “hell, yeah, we gotta get us some of those for our convention!”

  • Exposing the Fascist

    LOL, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that cops need a warrant in order to use GPS tracking devices????

    Wow, not only is the Government Fascist, but its Bipolar. One minute they tell you that you need a warrant and the next they are sticking their hands down your pants and ordering you through a Naked Body Scanner, and flying a drone over your house.. Classic.

    America is so screwed, a Bipolar Fascist Government. Good Job America, now you can again say your first at something … A Bipolar Fascist Government.

    • I hate Dumb A****

      You are a sky crane! Why you ask? Because it is the largest tool in the world!!!!

  • thelittledictator

    Looks like Daddy Bloombucks has bought the NYPD a lot of cool new toys and gadgets this past Christmas.Drones,Human Scanners,a 2.3 billion dollar 911 call center,

  • john

    Well,this had to come.Even the cops in the smallest villages think they are Gods compared to the people. Only they can protect us from ourselves. Funny, that
    ‘s what politicians think. You better believe there are cops who will misuse this for their own purposes,such as looking in bed room windows and any place else that should be private. Knew a case where a cop arrested the husband of a friend of mine. He got a good look at her when she came to see him. The next day the cop called her and said he needed to talk to her.She met him and asked how he got her number.He puffed out his chest and said,I’m a police officer.I can get any number I want and then proceeded to regale her with his great exploits of the day about how many tickets he had given out that day and the arrest he had made. What a man,what a man. Cops need more authority,but they cannot be trusted,They abuse the power they have.

    • Starchild

      Police are indeed abusing their power, of which they have way too much. They act like they have the right to just give whatever orders they feel like, and are way out of control. Know your rights and carry a video camera!

      A terrific site for police accountability is

    • rad

      Ya the cops will be lookin in bedroom windows and whackin off while REAL crime continues all around them!

    • slickzip

      Get a life ,,,,

      • nonsequitur

      • nonsequitur

        Cops can do no wrong

  • TooMuchControl

    Apparently we are paying TOO MUCH in taxes to local, state and federal governments.

    They also must have forgotten the individual’s right to privacy.

    Even worse, giving this type of technology to the Bozo Police Departments of any state or city or town is very, very dangerous.

  • Don Murray

    This is just another example of the system using our resources and money to develop a police state and pull the rug out from underneath us. It is time we stand up and support alternative media that really covers these issues in depth. More at

  • Sam

    All the more reason to VOTE FOR RON PAUL!!!!!!!!

    • Starchild

      Hear, hear! The mainstream media is trying to make people think it’s Romney and Gingrich, but Ron Paul is the one with the real grassroots following, because people who are paying attention are disproportionately in favor of him.

      Ron Paul has been fighting, often alone in Congress, for our rights and for the Constitution for years, and has a track record of integrity and consistency.

  • guest on this planet

    Wasnt that used in the tv series 24 a couple of years ago ?Jack Bauer was ahead of his times.

    • I hate Dumb A****

      The only thing better than Jack Bauer is Chuck Norris!!!!

    • slickzip



    It’s a brave new world. Head for the hills……….

    • I hate Dumb A****

      Drones can fly in the hills too. So just stay where ever you are and keep living your life.

      • rad

        They not interested in armed patriots livin in the hills. Nothin for them to gain there except war. They want the dumbed down unarmed city folk…easy prey

    • Whizerd

      Be careful which hill you run to. You might hit a trip-wire attached to a rusted-out ’66 Ford Fairlane that will be coming at you from the trees, out of nowhere.
      Not that I’d know anything about that.
      ~Blessed Be to all~

      • rad

        ROFL!!!!! good good…

  • JR

    The instruments of war abroad will only become the instruments of tyrrany at home. This is better than a textbook example. It seems we’ve forgotten this…

  • Jasonn

    It’s hard for me to picture how a surveillance drone could be used effectively in a congested urban environment like NYC. On the other hand, I can see one of those suckers malfunctioning and falling out of the sky into a crowd where it could really hurt or kill someone. I think it’s a bad idea.

  • Bildo

    I predict that when they start watching us with unmanned craft, the people will be willing to start shooting them down. Bring that crap to L.A. …Crazy times we live in folks.

    • Whizerd

      The ones they used in North Dakota for those ‘rustlers’ a while back were reportedly TWO MILES above their heads, and the infrared/thermals from the drone let the police on the ground know, in real-time, when those three persons in the house(who KNEW something was going to happen because of an earlier visit from the sheriff, whom they ran off the property with shotguns) were resting silently, with their guns away from them.
      I don’t think you’re gonna have a big enough gun, or accurate enough, to shoot down a drone from anywhere near that distance..and even if it was feasible to do it, theres no way you could hide the fact you were doing so.
      I’m not advocating them at all, I hope a hacker can remote detonate every damn one of them.
      This is gonna be a serious issue, and the only two ways I can think of realistically to render these things useless is some kind of sub-compact EMP machine(with good aim) being built secretly..or another smaller inexpensive drone, with the specific purpose of capture, or incapacitation of the enemy drone.
      But then……how many will there be at any one time, in any given location? Especially a ‘location of interest’?
      And, these things can be, and are manned, physically, thousands of miles from their intended target at times.
      Serious issue. One of the commenters got it right on the money though..its not a matter of IF they go local everywhere..if it’s in the paper(selective leak?), it’s a done deal.
      ~Blessed Be to all~

  • Diego Roswell

    When citizens lose their self reliance and depend more and more on government to protect them, they will give up their liberties. This is a proven fact. Unfortunately, government is unsustainable and will abuse its power over you. Abuses of their power over you will leave you wondering “how did we get like this?”. Keep whining to the government and asking for more and more laws and regulations. Soon you will be a prisoner in your own home, if you are not already.

  • Edward von Richthoven

    Wo sind Ihre Papiere, Herr Bloomberg?? Where are you papers???
    The libs RUN NYC…and that town is becoming a fascist environment…in a New York minute! When our country collapses financially, the nicest part about that possibility is that NYC will collapse FIRST and then will be ready to be taken BACK.

    • zlickzip

      Fear not ODUMBA will save you ,,,,,,,,,,,

  • DanTe

    And Bloomberg’s SS marches on.

    Better watch what you say, or Herr Bloomberg might put you in the oven

    • sgt barnes

      no, not ovens, thats too 1944. The new thing are fema coffins, now thats 1984.

  • Don Giovanni

    First they will be used to gather intelligence, next they’ll be used to disperse chemical and biological substances over ‘undesirable’ neighborhoods.

  • Moose 9

    Good to look into the windows of hi rise bedrooms ,I guess.

  • michaelfury
  • Vernon Hell

    Seinfeld fans will remember the “Urban Sombrero.” Now, to combat this privacy intrusion, bring on the “Mirrored Sombrero.”

  • devuong

    these things are for two things; ushering in a police state and aftherwards the anti-christ. and it’s right on track proceeding smoothly

  • Vyz

    We may laugh at stuff like this, but it won’t be that funny in time to come. I keep thinking about former justice Louis Brandeis’ comment about the most important right an American has is the right to be left alone. That’s certainly fading away in the name of security. Security. Right.

  • Mayor Koch's Dental Bridge

    If it gets rid of the African bootleg gangs on 28 th street & Broadway to 3oth St.
    that would be cool ,but only a dream as they work under the NYPD
    CCTV already for the last 7 years.” Coachbags” “AirJordans” anyone?
    I guess 2 murders amongst them in this hood ain’t 2 bad and they seem
    to leave the Ace Hotel alone with those hipsters.

    • Andy

      If you refuse to stand up for the rights of others… the day may come when you stand alone.

  • Rich Wiggins

    “Former Iraq war veteran”??? Um folks,a veteran is always a veteran.

  • D Paul

    Robert Chandler, “Shadow World”, 2008″ Read it and you will stand in line to support the NYPD. The ACLU has a hidden agenda and it isn’t to protect the rights of the American people.

    • john

      what is their agenda?

  • fritz von

    These things crash, and in the high winds between tall buildings, there will be blood on the ground. I hope they test them in the early AM hours when there aren’t as many people to kill, but they probably won’t.

    • Michael H.

      They’ll likely test them at Floyd Bennett Field where the NYPD’s aviation division is based.

    • slickzip

      God bless your tiny brain ,,,,,,,,

    • Unicorn


  • George

    Nothing some paintballs can’t take care of.

    • Whizerd

      LOL…thats one HELL of a paintball gun(marker)!!!
      To be able to shoot that far up, with that much accuracy, and incapacitate all the software.
      A paintball marker, even if it were close enough to hit good, would only render the camera useless..there are many other things these little ^&%$^#$%^ ‘s have.(I would suppose not ALL have everything, but I’d venture to say that MOST will have sufficient doo-dads)
      Just sayin’…. you need to think a little before you get yourself killed..with a paintball marker in your hands.
      ~Blessed Be to all~

      • rad

        cant kill all of us…

    • Love NYC

      Sorry, paintball soon to be illegal.

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