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Hartford Police launch drone program to crack down on illegal ATV's

Hartford Police received ten drones that will assist with getting illegal ATV's off city streets, as well as other crimes

HARTFORD, Conn. — Police are taking a new approach in cracking down on ATV's driving through the capital city. 

It has been a problem for years and it is illegal. The police department has gone to new heights to keep ATV's off the street's. 

RELATED: Hartford issues warning to dirtbike and ATV riders

Hartford PD officially launched their drone program on Wednesday, and it is a project that has been in the works for three years.

"It’s about public safety," Hyacinth Yennie, a Hartford community advocate said. 

Yennie said she has been waiting for this day and hoped it will cut down on one of the city's largest problems, which is illegal ATV use.

"I’ve seen them driving down Maple Avenue - hundreds. I’ve seen them on White Street - hundreds," Yennie added. "If I can figure out where they go and where they stop, but a drone can follow them much better than I can." 

Instead of officers engaging in a pursuit with the ATV's, the drones can get a clear view from above of where the ATV's are headed to. 

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"Getting our hands on them in a safe way is tricky," Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody said at a press conference. "The drone provides us a way to keep an eye on these folks and when they’re in a place where we can apprehend them safely, we do so." 

Three of the drones will be with the Crime Scene Division, while the rest will be on the operational side. 

RELATED: Hartford police round up numerous ‘unlawful’ ATVs and dirt bikes

The first time the department launched a drone was on August 3, where an 8-year-old boy was reported missing from Keney Park. The boy was later found at a friend's house.

Police said even though it was not the drone that found the boy, they were able to get a wide view of the park. 

Hartford PD's drone did solve a previous case, however. Officials say it was one where a suspect stole a car with children inside. 

RELATED: Hartford police seize 4 ATVs in crackdown

"We were able to get up, find the stolen car, keep a visual on it and guided uniform officers and recover a stolen car," Sgt. Chris Mastroianni said. 

Since August, police have also used their drones to respond to burglaries, reconstruct scenes of fatal car crashes and assisted with traffic control at events

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.   


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