The new president of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), Mark Pearson, got his first taste of official duty as he conducted his first 104COP general assembly meeting at the United Talmudic Seminary in Glendale on Thursday night.
After 104COP unveiled its newest piece of equipment last week, a quad-copter, Pearson was faced with answering questions from patrol members and residents regarding this new technology.
“The idea is to use this device in conjunction with the NYPD to make sure that they’re aware that it’s going to be for what it’s going to be used for, which right now it is slated to be used for missing children or a missing person,” Pearson said. “So anytime it goes up, they’re aware of it. We need to be fully open and transparent with the NYPD.”
Pearson said that the 104th Precinct does not officially sanction drones, but they are not opposed to them either. He also informed those in attendance that 104COP is in the process of getting the proper exemptions and filing the appropriate paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“The regulations are, if you’re going to fly within a 5-mile radius of an airport, which is within the jurisdiction of the 104th Precinct, we have to notify the air traffic controller and get approval from them first,” Pearson said. “If it’s outside of that you don’t need to, you have to fly below 400 feet. Which, in order to try and find somebody, you would have to fly 100 feet. And the regulation is you can’t fly below 25 feet over people.”
“There’s a lot of concerns over privacy issues and everything like that,” he continued. “These devices, well the one that we have, does not support audio. It only records, if we turn it on, video. That’s it. There’s no use for us to use it to spy on anybody. That’s not what it’s meant for. It’s meant to find a missing child as quickly as possible.”
Pearson also noted that 104COP will continue to coordinate their patrols with the 104th Precinct to make them more cohesive and effective.
“Either at the time of the patrol, or right before the patrol, we actually get in touch with the captain and let him know that we are going out so that way he’s aware,” Pearson said. “He’s been relaying information to us and I, in turn, will now inform whoever else is supervising the patrol so that way they know where to focus.”