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Queens community enlists drone to help keep neighborhood safe

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QUEENS VILLAGE, Queens —Juniper Park in Middle Village Queens is the kind of huge gathering place where everything gets noticed.

Especially a white quad-copter, or drone, emblazoned with what looks like an NYPD logo.

“We’ve now been requested by the 104th precinct to now cover all the townships of the 104th precinct,” said Mark Pearson of the 104th Pct. Civilian Patrol.

But Mark Pearson of the 104th Precinct Civilian Patrol, a volunteer organization that works closely with, but is not officially linked to the police department, is not flying this machine in any official capacity.

You’re looking at what could be the new face of community patrols - except Pearson intends to use his drone to find missing children.

“Wouldn’t you like to be able to find a missing child within let’s say fifteen minutes of getting the call out. We have over sixty members of the civilian patrol. We can mobilize our cars within a matter of minutes,” said Pearson.

Drones have caught plenty of heat in the news from people flying them too high and illegally in the path of commercial airliners.

Then of course there are privacy advocates who have never been happy with the drone's ability to record high-definition video and audio.

But one father, in the park with this son, says he has no issue with the Patrol’s planned use of its own quad copter.

“I have nothing to do with criminal activity. But if you are an honest person, you shouldn’t worry about those things. There should be more of those all over,” said Rafael Yakutilov.