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March 2019

Left to right: Harrison Police Officer Christopher Oliva; Mayor Ron Belmont; Sergeant Pat Varbero.

Police Chief Yasinski Discusses Drones, “The Wave of the Future”

By Stephen E. Lipken


Harrison Police Chief Joseph Yasinski appeared before the Town Board on Thursday, February 7 to discuss their procurement of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)/Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or Drone, seeking approval from the Board to issue a declaration letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


“We feel that this is a necessary piece of equipment, especially with growing Platinum Mile  mixed-use residences, Downtown and Avalon populations,” Yasinski began.


A short presentation followed.  “With the help of computer apps that come with the aircraft and readily available Google maps, these vehicles provide precise measurements that visually present information…,” Yasinski continued.  “Photographing a crime scene with standard equipment on the ground could take hours and even days.  UAS’s can take digital images in 20 to 40 minutes.


“Here are some common myths about UAS’s: Myth: Law enforcement watches the general public from the skies, waiting to find lawbreakers. Fact: UAS’s are used for crime scene, traffic investigations and fires.  Flight time is limited to 20-40 minutes, an hour at most.  Myth: UAS’s carry weapons.  Fact: Unmanned aircraft used by law enforcement are not military-style UAS’s and are unarmed… Myth: UAS’s are outfitted with infrared cameras that can look through windows and record what is going on inside private homes. Fact: UAS’s infrared cameras cannot see inside windows...”


The presentation documented finding an autistic child lost in a corn field with 300 volunteers looking for him.  A volunteer found the child, aided by the UAS.   Another UAS recorded a suspect surrendering his gun, preventing the possible shooting of an unarmed man.


“We have 69 officers but only three would be responsible for this project,” Yasinski concluded.


In other business, Village Engineer Michael Amodeo requested hiring Joken Development for the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project (SSRP) within the Trails and Winfield Avenue, not to exceed $994,600 and professional service contract with GHD Consulting Services, Inc. for construction, administration and inspection of SSRP, not to exceed $139,800.