New drones to police Carnival bands
The T&T Police Service will be making full use of technology for next week’s major Carnival festivities.
Speaking during yesterday weekly briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port of Spain, Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith said officers will be using a new state of the art drone to help with remote surveillance of the celebrations.
The Silent Falcon unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) will replace the toy drones currently in use, he said.
“One of the things again that you would see differently is the concept of drones. Now the drones we would have seen in Trinidad and Tobago over the last few years, those are the drones you would usually buy in a Toys R Us or Walmart store.
“The concept of the drone we are going to be utilising here is something that’s going to be a first in Trinidad and Tobago,” Griffith said.
He said while they were implementing them during Carnival season they will primarily be used to secure the nation’s borders.
The drone is a solar-electric unmanned aircraft and includes a ground control station. It requires two operators to function—one to control the aircraft and the other its payload, such as cameras.
It has a range of up to 100 kilometres and has a set-up time of 30 minutes and a transit time of 20 minutes to prepare in-between flights.
“This will turn night into day. It would be able to lock onto certain things, pick up on certain information, feeding information to the Operational Command Centre in real time and this would play a phenomenal part in actually dealing with looking at everything that is taking place for Carnival,” the CoP said.
At the time, he was unable to give an exact figure on how many drones will be used but indicated there will be either three or four.
The drones, he said, were much cheaper to employ than the use of helicopters and unlike other methods of air surveillance could provide information in real time.
Griffith also said the TTPS will work alongside the developers for the “D’ Junction” mobile app to give real-time updates on band locations, as well as show users the nearest police station, post, or patrol. Founder and developer of the D’ Junction app, Ria Karim, said the most important feature the app offers is a band tracking mechanism.
“It really was developed out of experience and out of the understanding of a glaring gap, a missing link in terms of people being able to safely and securely navigate our towns and cities during Carnival time, especially in an environment which may be unfamiliar to them,” she said.