In advance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Drone Safety Day, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, in collaboration with State law enforcement partners, will launch an Unmanned Aircraft Systems dashboard on its website Wednesday, bringing greater visibility of safety standards and resources to the public.
To reduce reckless or unintentional misuse of drones, NJOHSP partnered with New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Department of Corrections, to develop the dashboard and provide novice and experienced operators and the general public with support tools and guidance regarding 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.”
In addition to creating false public alarm and needlessly diverting law enforcement response, individuals operating drones in a dangerous manner or violating rules may be subject to FAA enforcement action.
“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.