Savannah Police Department uses drones to enforce social distancing

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and the Savannah Police Department are asking people in the community to take Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-at-home order seriously.

“Due to the current health emergency, members of the public are reminded to keep a safe distance of six feet from others,” the Savannah Police Department’s drones voiced while they hovered above Forsyth Park.

The SPD is using five drones to monitor Savannah—utilizing two of those drones to enforce social distancing measures with prerecorded messages.

“We are in the middle of a crisis. We’re on our peak time frame and we’re serious about social distancing. The reason why we have so many cases we have is because, two weeks ago people felt that life was normal it is not normal.” Johnson stated.

Sgt. Jason Pagliaro said officers will be following FAA restrictions while operating the drones—making sure they do not fly over crowds and other prohibited locations.

“We do not use our drones for random patrol, they’re not flying all the time. We use them in directed areas where the need is present,” Pagliaro said.

Pagliaro and Chief Roy Minter said the drones would help keep police officers safe while simultaneously sharing their safety messages.

“They give us the capability to put it airborne, 100 feet in the air and cover a much larger area than an officer on foot could and get the same message out rather quickly and safely,” Pagliaro said.

Johnson said the city will take “any necessary actions” like closing city parks, to prevent public areas from getting crowded, but Minter and Johnson expressed hope that it would not progress to that point.

“We are hoping that people will continue to adhere to the governor’s shelter-at-home order and continue to only go out if they have to go out for essential services, but other than that we are imploring people just stay home,” Minter said.

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