This week, the Montgomery County Council approved a $350,000 supplemental appropriation to the fiscal 24 Operating Budget for the Drone as First Responder Pilot Program within the Montgomery County Police Department. The department is evaluating the use of drone technology to prevent and respond to crime more efficiently.
This program, recommended by County Executive Marc Ehrlich and the Montgomery County Police Department, is intended to assist the police and first responders with emergencies by providing support before officers arrive.
Drones will be deployed after an emergency call is made and used to assess the situation before the arrival of human responders – such as whether a situation poses a credible threat or whether more emergency responders are needed.
Using drones allows for real-time information during in-progress and extremely volatile incidents. Drones also give officers an eye on the incident from a safe distance to gather information and assist them with making sound tactical decisions that reduce the risk of injury to the officers and suspects alike.
The pilot program will be implemented in Wheaton and Silver Spring, which were selected based on staffing and crime trend analyses.