‘Disperse immediately’: CT police decide not to enforce social distancing with drones

(WHDH) — A Connecticut police department tested out a plan to use drones to fight the spread of coronavirus but ultimately decided not to go forward with the idea.

Concerned residents reached out to the department and town officials to express their reservations regarding the use of drones to enforce social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the police department.

Chief of Police Foti Koskinas announced Wednesday that the department would be participating in a “flattening the curve pilot program” by using pandemic drones to monitor residents.

“If it takes somebody seeing a drone and saying, “You know what we shouldn’t be doing this”, and that’s the motivation they’re looking for? We’re way ahead of it at this point,” he said.

After receiving the complaints, Koskinas said, “I am always committed to bringing our community the most innovative solutions to the public safety problems that it faces. Although I see the greater potential of this technology, I will always be responsive and respectful of the concerns of our citizens in every decision that I make.”

The drones have the ability to recognize when people are closer than the recommended six feet apart and issue an alert:

“Please help the town of Westport keep its residents safe and please disperse immediately.”

The technology comes from Draganfly — a Canadian based company.

“It can detect fever by understanding temperature, the heart-rate, the respiratory rate, the O2 saturation of the blood, it can also detect sneezing, coughing it can also detect social distancing,” Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell explained.

Video from the drone show green if residents are practicing good social distancing, red if they need to back up.

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