For all his tendency toward wordiness, President Donald Trump has never been accused of droning on. However, he will be protected by one later this month.
According to a statement from the Secret Service, a new protection protocol involving drones will be tested during Trump’s 17-day visit to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. later this month.
The president is visiting while the White House is being renovated, The Daily Caller reported.
“The Proof of Concept will help determine the potential future use of tethered (drones) in supporting the Agency’s protective mission,” the Secret Service said in a Wednesday press release.
The tethered drone will be equipped with both an electro-optical and an infrared camera and will send secure video back to the Operator Control Unit, “a laptop that provides user interface software to operate the system.” It will operate roughly 300 to 400 feet above ground level.
“The United States Secret Service is responsible for creating secure environments for statutorily protected people, places and events,” the Secret Service said in a statement. “This is a no fail mission that requires the Secret Service to constantly assess how we can effectively evaluate threats and mitigate vulnerabilities.”
“In an effort to expand upon our current use of traditional manned aircraft platforms to provide overhead situational awareness, the U.S. Secret Service is developing a program to incorporate the use of several types of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and tethered systems. These systems will serve as valuable tools the Secret Service will use to further our protective mission.”
The Secret Service noted that similar systems had been used to protect the Boston Marathon and Fourth of July ceremonies in the Massachusetts city.
As for privacy concerns, the press release noted that “(t)here is a risk that images of individuals outside the zone of protection will not receive notice of the test and may have their image captured without their consent.
“Individuals who see the notice and chose not to enter the club during the testing may still have their images captured despite declining to consent due to their proximity to the club’s perimeter,” they added.
However, it sounds like a promising system, and one that can definitely augment traditional Secret Service protection. It’s shockingly cool, and it’s yet another sign that the Service is continuing to develop ways to keep the president safe.
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