NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Middlesex County has bought what officials believe is the first drone to be used in criminal investigations by the prosecutor’s office.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders approved a $21,829 contract with Florida-based FlyMotion for the “furnishing and delivering of an unmanned aircraft system” at its June 1 meeting, according to the resolution. The document notes that the technology will go toward Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey’s office.
“It’s going to be used for investigations,” Freeholder Director Ronald Rios said in response to a question from a member of the public.
The county’s purchasing agent, Ann Hartwick, said this would be the prosecutor’s office first remote-controlled drone, “as far as I know.”
During the meeting, Middlesex officials referred questions on how, exactly, the drone will be used to the prosecutor’s office.
Two spokespersons for the prosecutor’s office didn’t return emails from TAPinto New Brunswick requesting comment and more information on the drone.
The capacity in which the drone will be used and whether the county will implement privacy protections are unclear.
In 2015, detectives in the prosecutor’s office attended a drone training session, according to New Brunswick Today. There, they reportedly learned about federal regulations and how to obtain and fly the devices.
Middlesex County isn’t the first government in the state to use drones in criminal investigations. In Bergen County, detectives have reportedly launched a drone to track down a murder suspect, according to NJ.com. Local law enforcement agencies have also reportedly bought drones.
FlyMotion promised the county a 1 percent discount for “prompt payment,” according to the resolution.