Scranton police to begin using drone technology

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The city of Scranton is expanding its crime-fighting technology by taking to the air.

A company in the city is donating the department’s first drone but it also comes with new legal concerns.

Scranton’s police chief says having a drone could help in several different scenarios.

He says he is only planning to train four officers with how to use it and says it’s not something that would be used everyday.

The drone only weighs three pounds.

It is being donated by the president of the Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company.

“In many cases, I think government is behind the technology a little bit and this is a way to get them out front,” president Douglas Fink said.

The city plans to use the done for large events like the Saint Patrick’s Day parade.

Officers also say it could help during standoffs, in missing person searches or even to map outdoor crime scenes.

“In law enforcement this is another progressive step to doing the best that we can,” Scranton police chief Carl Graziano said.

With new technology comes new concerns.

On its website, the American Civil Liberties Union posted about police using domestic drones.

While acknowledging beneficial uses, the group also noted possible concerns over privacy rights.

Scranton’s police chief understands them.

“The drone will only be used in public areas that will be, it won’t be going through windows, it won’t be going into private residences or anything to that affect,” Chief Graziano said.

Besides just donating the drone, the president of Pennsylvania Paper & Supply is also helping to train four officers in exactly how to use it.

“A lot of businesses I think they feel an excitement in the city of Scranton now and they’re willing to help. They know we need help,” Scranton mayor Bill Courtright said.

The police chief says once his officers are trained, he’s hoping to be able to live-stream video from the drone to a camera network that is located at police headquarters.

The cost of the donated drone is roughly $1400.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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