From fires to traffic accidents, if a drone can help, it’s now a tool members of law enforcement in Hanover, Massachusetts, can draw on.
The municipality says it’s the first in the state to have approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones.
Residents say they see both positives and negatives.
“I think there’s some safety concerns,” said resident Nancy Byron. “If they came too close to homes or invade people’s privacy those would be the concerns, but I think if they’re used for a good purpose, then it would be OK.”
Town Manager Troy Clarkson is allaying fears about privacy, saying drones will only be used for specific cases and will follow strict protocols.
“You could never expect to see a Hanover drone flying over your house doing any sort of surveillance,” said Clarkson. “I know that’s what people are concerned about, that’s not our intent.”
Town officials say a drone can help with missing children, inspecting tall buildings, and keeping law enforcement safer in dangerous situations.
“In some kind of difficult terrain, you could fly a drone in there and see exactly what do I need to do,” said resident Steve Watson. “Instead of sending a person down, you could send a drone in there to survey the situation and then respond with the proper tools.”
Six town employees have already been licensed to operate a drone. There’s one drone in town already and the plan is to expand the fleet.