The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at Hofstra University on September 26 was, according to acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, the most critical security event in the last 30 years in Nassau County.

Although flying drones on Hofstra University is forbidden, additional security measures were implemented to protect the faculty, students, and debate participants against intruding UAVs. The integration of Dedrone’s early drone detection system into existing security systems enabled the detection, tracking, and localisation of pilots of potentially harmful drones that were illegally entering the airspace.

Counter drone technology

“A no-fly-zone cannot keep people with malicious intentions from flying their drones in the restricted area. This is why we had to upgrade our security plan and implement counter-drone technology as well,” said Detective Lieutenant Kenneth Strigaro, Commanding Officer of the Technical Services Section, regarding the Nassau Police’s security detail for the debate. The airspace above the campus was surveilled with a network of DroneTracker systems, developed by San Francisco-based company Dedrone.

Several multi-sensors consisting of multiple passive sensors that are developed to detect drones were installed across the campus to keep the presidential candidates and civilians safe. Every drone detected alarmed Nassau Police and provided their team with detailed information and allowed security to track the intruding drone, implement countermeasures, and trace the pilot.

Integration with overall security plan

The high profile event was supported by several federal and state agencies, including the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the local Nassau County Police Department (NCPD). This is not the first time that NCPD coordinated the security taskforce for a presidential debate and they have a clear understanding of the rigorous demands implied on events of this magnitude.

"Dedrone demonstrated that its solution quickly integrated into our overall security plan and provided us with very comprehensive, real-time information"

On this matter, Deputy Chief of Support Services, Kevin G. Canavan, mentioned that, “Investing in technology these days is a must. Our agency prides itself in utilising state-of-the-art equipment that delivers precise and relevant intelligence to our members, thereby allowing them to be far more efficient and effective with their overall operational efforts. Dedrone demonstrated that its solution quickly integrated into our overall security plan and provided us with very comprehensive, real-time information regarding unauthorised UAS platforms during this high profile event”.

Collaboration with AirVu

Joerg Lamprecht, CEO and Co-founder of Dedrone, said: “We are very proud to have contributed our share to the national security effort. An event of this significance calls for the highest security standards. It was an honour to work with the NCPD to ensure a safe and seamless debate between the presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

Dedrone partnered with AirVu, a global security and unmanned system provider, for specialised onsite staffing, logistical and planning support. David Walshe, Business Development Director AirVu added, “AirVu and Dedrone’s individual commitment to the group effort ensured a time sensitive project for the Nassau County Police Department was delivered successfully. This seamless flow of expert industry knowledge shared between both companies is the beauty of our partnership.”

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