Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas said this afternoon that after careful consideration, and in collaboration with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, the Police Department will not participate in the Draganfly drone “Flatten the Curve Pilot Program.”
The department’s recent announcement of a plan to partner participate in a test of drone technology drew public concern.
“To those who reached out directly to the police department, the selectman’s office or otherwise made public these questions or concerns, we sincerely thank you for your continued community engagement and seek to assure you that your voices have been heard,” Koskinas says.
Marpe notes, “in our good faith effort to get ahead of the virus and potential need to manage and safely monitor crowds and social distancing in this environment, our announcement was perhaps misinterpreted, not well received, and posed many additional questions.
“We heard and respect your concerns, and are therefore stepping back and reconsidering the full impact of the technology and its use in law enforcement protocol.”
Koskinas adds, “I am always committed to bringing our community the most innovative solutions to the public safety problems that it faces. Although I see the greater potential of this technology, I will always be responsive and respectful of the concerns of our citizens in every decision that I make.
“It is a fact that the COVID-19 virus continues to spread through the global community, and therefore poses a serious and credible threat to us all now and in the future. In our steadfast commitment to public service, we remain honored to have been given an opportunity to assist in a pilot program which could someday prove to be a valuable lifesaving tool. We thank Draganfly for offering the pilot program to Westport, and sincerely hope to be included in future innovations once we are convinced the program is appropriate for Westport.
“The Westport Police Department has always made public safety its primary focus while simultaneously respecting the civil liberties of our residents and visitors. We remain steadfast in honoring this commitment.”