Yonkers police launch drone program to aid first responders

Yonkers currently has one drone but likely needs three to cover the entire city.

Jonathan Gordon

Jul 10, 2024, 9:49 PM

Updated 11 days ago

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The Yonkers Police Department has a new set of eyes watching the city - you just have to look up.
On Wednesday, Mayor Mike Spano and Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza officially launched the Drone as a First Responder program (DFR).
The initiative is designed to quickly arrive on scenes following 911 calls and give first responders a new perspective on situations.
"Today, we give them yet another tool to help them serve the people of this city," Sapienza said.
The eight-week pilot program began at the beginning of July and will run through August. So far, the city has launched the drone six times for a total of one hour and 47 minutes in the air.
The drone has assisted in helping to locate a missing person, a person down and a woman trapped under a vehicle.
That last incident happened outside of G Gambardella & Son auto shop on New Main Street on Monday. An employee discovered a woman under a truck and called 911. Police quickly responded on the ground and determined the woman fainted from the heat.
Yonkers police also had their eyes on the scene from up above.
Owner David Gambardella called it unobtrusive.
"Didn't notice it, didn't hear it, didn't even know it was up there," he said. "I think they're a very good tool for the police department."
The drone is on standby on top of Saint Joseph's Hospital across from police headquarters. Once in the air, a trained first responder relays the information to officers on the ground.
"It's all about making sure that our police officers have what they need to do an effective job at policing in this community," Spano said.
Yonkers currently has one drone but likely needs three to cover the entire city. Officials plan to re-evaluate the program at the end of the summer.


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