In collaboration with State law enforcement partners, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOSP) launched an Unmanned Aircraft Systems dashboard on its website recently, bringing greater visibility of drone safety standards and resources to the public.
To mitigate reckless or unintended misuse of drones, NJOHSP collaborated with the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Department of Corrections to create a dashboard. This dashboard provides novice and experienced drone operators and the general public with access to support tools and guidance on relevant FAA regulations and applicable laws.
“The popularity of drones has soared in recent years, both for hobbyists and within the commercial sector,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “Part of the challenge for law enforcement is distinguishing harmless drone usage from those who intend to do harm. Bad actors can use drones for reconnaissance, property damage and even an attack; the public’s adherence to local and FAA requirements and restrictions is paramount to the safety and security of national airspace and our critical infrastructure.”
Drone operators, who must observe FAA regulations and laws while in flight, can access the dashboard to improve their knowledge and awareness and leverage support and resources for:
• Drone registration links
• Pilot requirements
• The airspace authorization request process
• Special Governmental Interest certificate of waiver links
“As law enforcement officers, our duty to protect and serve does not stop at the ground we stand on, it extends to the skies above as well,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Providing drone operators a quick and easily accessible resource to review FAA regulations and the laws that govern their proper use will create safer skies for everyone. Whether flying unmanned aircrafts recreationally or professionally, everyone benefits when the operator of the aircraft is using it safely and in accordance with federal regulations and local laws.”
Individuals who operate drones in a hazardous manner or violate regulations not only create false alarms for the public but also unnecessarily divert law enforcement’s attention. Furthermore, they may face enforcement action from the FAA.
“Despite all its positive impacts, this technology raises new risks,” said NJOHSP Preparedness Division Director Daniel Engelhardt. “We’ve spent countless hours seeking feedback from subject matter experts and stakeholders, as well as collecting, organizing and highlighting the most relevant information on this New Jersey-centric dashboard. Aside from familiarizing drone users with current aviation rules and guidance, this latest addition to our website will also heighten the public’s awareness surrounding drone-related suspicious activities.”
Suspicious drone activity includes:
• Unusual modifications
• Visible loose wires
• Lights taped over or removed
• Excessive tape used to conceal or attach additional items
• Additional visible batteries attached
• Lack of a registration number
• Unattended grounded Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Interested parties may visit the UAS dashboard for more information and resources at njohsp.gov/uas.
To report unusual drone activity or suspicious activity in general, the public should immediately contact local law enforcement or NJOHSP’s Counterterrorism Watch Desk at 866-4-SAFE-NJ or firstname.lastname@example.org.