This Council Candidate Says Fleet of Drones Can Solve Philly’s Crime Problem

He wants to deploy "Drone Force Philly." Plus: Old people can become Philly cops, too.

philadelphia city council-at-large candidate jalon alexander says drones may be the answer to Philadelphia's crime problem

City Council-at-Large candidate Jalon Alexander says drones may be the answer to crime in Philadelphia (photo via Jalon Alexander for Council-at-Large)

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City Council-at-Large Candidate Jalon Alexander Wants to Use Drones to Fight Philadelphia Crime

In a primary season with an overwhelming number of candidates for various offices, it can be hard for a candidate with zero experience as an elected official and without a big campaign bankroll to get noticed. But one way to get noticed: Start pushing a program known as Drone Force Philly as part of your platform.

That’s just what Jalon Alexander is doing. He’s a 29-year-old Strawberry Mansion resident who is running as a Democrat for City Council-at-Large. According to his bio, Alexander is a cybersecurity lawyer.

Alexander has been talking up Drone Force Philly for a few weeks. And after the murder of a 15-year-old boy on Monday, he used the incident to further bolster his argument that Philadelphia needs “a highly sophisticated drone program,” as he wrote on Twitter, to fight crime in Philadelphia.

Yes, Philadelphia has surveillance cameras all over the place, particularly in high-crime areas. But, as Alexander points out, those are stationary cameras. What if we had cameras that could fly, i.e. drones?

Alexander, who could not be reached for comment, proposes that the city deploy 42 drones (two per police district, of which there are 21). And then we’d need people to operate those 42 drones, and Alexander says that would require a ten-person unit.

“Drones must be a part of our gun-violence solution going forward,” Alexander insists in his Twitter post. “The drones I am advocating include software to detect and respond to live shootings, must faster than humans.”

According to a report from Axios, the Philadelphia Police Department does have one drone registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. And police forces in many cities across the country do use drones to one extent or another. Here’s a very friendly-looking video from one California police department explaining how these law enforcement drones are nothing to worry about, how they’re your friend:

You can read more about the candidate on the Jalon Alexander for City Council-at-Large website, which contains photos of him with John Street and Bill Clinton.

Fairmount Fire Lawsuit

Remember the devastating fire in Fairmount that killed 12 people, including nine kids? Well, powerhouse Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Thomas Kline has filed a lawsuit over the incident. In the lawsuit, filed on behalf of surviving family members of those killed in the fire, Kline accuses the city of failing to properly supervise and monitor the building. (The structure was owned by the housing authority). And he’s also going after the distributor of the lighter that reportedly started the fire when one of the kids was playing with it.

Another Plastic Bag Ban

Say hello to ten-cent recyclable paper shopping bags, Radnor. (Better yet, just stock up on a few sturdy reusable bags like the rest of us long ago did.)

Older People Becoming Philly Cops

The desperate-for-staffing Philadelphia Police Department just graduated its latest class of cops. Among them? People in their middle age, including a retired schoolteacher. One 55-year-old newcomer told Fox 29: “I said ‘I’m too old’ and he said ‘you look like you are in decent shape, can you run?’ I said ‘I can run a mile or two, yea I can run.’ And he said ‘I don’t think it will be an issue.'”

By the Numbers

$1,000,000: Least amount of debt owed by Philly’s quirky Insectarium, which just declared bankruptcy. Could be up to $10 million. Yikes!

$325,000,000: COVID-era relief funding the Philadelphia School District stands to lose if it doesn’t break ground on some new facilities right quick.

$173,600,000: Worldwide box office take thus far for Rocky spinoff Creed 3, which reportedly had the biggest opening weekend of any “sports movie” in history. Yes, you have to go to a theater to see it. Creed 3 is not streaming yet.

102.9: The frequency on your FM dial to turn to if you are a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. The station, which you probably know as WMGK, has officially gone Boss-crazy in anticipation of his return to Philadelphia this week.

And from the Who’s-Headed-Where Sports Desk …

OMG, the Phils got clobbered by the Braves in spring training yesterday.

They play the Yankees today at 1:05. You know who is doing well, though? Our guys who are in the World Baseball Classic.

Not to mention the Philadelphia Union, who crushed Alianza, 4-0, in the CONCACAF whatever-the-hell-it-is. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie in their initial bout.

The Sixers and their five-game win streak go up against the Cavaliers in Cleveland tonight at 7:30.

The Eagles signed former Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny and re-signed cornerback James Bradberry and running back Boston Scott, but they’ve lost running back Miles Sanders and linebacker Kyzir White.

In college hoops, unseeded Villanova played two-seeded Liberty U. in the NIT tournament last night. The Wildcats were without injured starters Justin Moore and Cam Whitmore, but they still managed to keep it within 10 points or so in the first half and to cut it to as little as three in the second with just minutes left. Final score, though: Liberty wins it, 62-60. Pity. In my book, it’s a sin to lose to Jerry Falwell’s school.

Haverford School grad Jameer Nelson Jr., who was playing for Delaware, has entered the transfer portal. And Temple’s embattled Khalif Battle is outta here.

The Flyers also played.

All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.