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November 19, 2019

DRONERESPONDERS – the world’s fastest growing non-profit program supporting public safety UAS – announced the formation of the DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Working Group designed to unite and assist public safety agencies operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in urban and large metropolitan areas.


Formalized at the Drone Journalism Leadership Summit held on November 13, 2019 at the City University of New York (CUNY), charter members of the Major Cities Working Group include representatives from the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and the New York Police Department (NYPD).


Captain Michael Leo, FDNY, Battalion Chief Richard Fields, LAFD, Anthony DeMolina, sUAS program manager, LAPD, and Detective Deepu John, NYPD, have accepted appointments on the leadership council for the DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Working Group.  They will work directly with DRONERESPONDERS to establish communications with other public safety agencies who plan to operate UAS in dense population centers and large metropolitan areas.


“Operating UAS in large urban population centers presents a unique set of challenges for public safety agencies,” says Fields.  “The Major Cities Working Group will allow larger police and fire departments to work more closely with one another, while also partnering with leading non-profit organizations like AIRT, AUVSI, and NPPA to help identify potential solutions to the complex issues we face.”


The Major Cities Working Group will be administered by DRONERESPONDERS, with additional non-profit organizational support provided by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).  AIRT, AUVSI and NPPA will facilitate coordination between public safety agencies, news media organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the unmanned systems industry as needed.


The working group committee of the whole will gather in person at the DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Meeting during the Global Public Safety UAS Summit from May 4-7 at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL 2020 in Boston.  The group will also meet at least quarterly via web conference. As membership expands and mission requirements evolve, subgroups will be formed to tackle specific issues facing members. 


“The DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Working Group will help insure that large public safety departments have a collective voice in the development of new training and certification standards surrounding the use of drones by first responders,” says Charles Werner, director of the DRONERESPONDERS program and retired fire chief.


“As we work towards establish formal standards surrounding public safety drone operations, we must ensure the unique needs and requirements of large cities are accurately represented,” adds John.  “The DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Working Group will provide a forum for big city departments to have our voices heard, while also fostering direct communications between major UAS programs in different regions.”


Membership in the DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Working Group is complimentary and open to representatives from public safety agencies and jurisdictions representing the world’s largest cities and metropolitan areas representing jurisdictions with a population of 500,000 or greater.  To request membership in the DRONERESPONDERS Major Cities Working Group, please email

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