As reports continue to emerge showing the effectiveness of social distancing, public authorities at all levels are determined to keep self-isolation mandates in place.
In Elizabeth, N.J., Mayor Chris Bollwage will be reminding residents who are caught breaking social distancing rules of the penalties they could suffer if they do not cease immediately.
But Bollwage does not intend to comb the city streets in person. Instead, the Elizabeth Police Department will be sending out drones to spread the word.
During Mayor Chris Bollwage daily COVID-19 Updates, he mentioned the Elizabeth Police Department implementing drones...Posted by Elizabeth Police Department on Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The police department will use a fleet of five DJI Mavic 2 UAV drones on loan from manufacturer DJI to patrol Elizabeth. It will convey an automated message from Bollwage to “stop gathering, disperse, and go home.”
Drones were also used in China to control large gatherings in public spaces, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Concerns began to pour in from Elizabeth residents, asking the police department to address privacy concerns.
Regarding comments on drones, we are trying to save lives, not be big brother. If this plan saves 1 life, then its worth it. All its doing is spreading an automated notice about social distance. No recording or pictures are taken, just a tool of encouragement to follow the rules. pic.twitter.com/KnptwsxBQ2— Elizabeth NJ Police (@epdnj) April 8, 2020
The police department said that only an automated message will be dispersed to help enforce social distancing. No images or other personal information will be collected, per the department’s tweet.
New Jersey, like its neighboring state New York, is one of the most highly affected states, with more than 47,000 confirmed cases statewide and 1,504 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.
In Elizabeth, there are a total of 1,566 cases and 37 deaths as of April 8, per the city website.
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