Thursday, September 9, 2010

Police Technology

We all benefit when it improves and this improvement, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is a good one.

An excerpt.

“Handguns, notepads and BlackBerrys?

“The tools used by Pittsburgh police officers have changed a little in the past decade.

“Today, in the front seat of each patrol car is a sturdy, wireless laptop that generates maps, streams information from 911 calls and, with the swipe of an officer's "Smart Card," provides access to criminal databases.

"We're creating this technology in-house," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who held a news conference Tuesday with police officials to showcase the department's new technology.

“Sixty patrol cars now have tiny printers that produce waterproof citations and can read and extract information from scanned driver's licenses.

“Officers in Zone 5 are testing windshield-mounted video cameras that remotely upload footage when they drive within 300 feet of a station. A microphone on the officer's lapel records conversations during traffic stops, providing proof of what happened if disputes arise.

"Obviously, the film won't lie," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

“The new technologies reduce paperwork and allow officers to return to the station less frequently, said Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson.
The wealth of information also keeps officers safer, said Sgt. Eric Kroll, who coordinates new technology training.

"There's no lost communication between 911 and the officer," he said.

“The department continues to tweak its tools.

"Things work, things don't work ... it's ever-evolving," said Cmdr. Linda Barone.

“And officers continue to return to the police academy for crash-courses about their dashboard.

"It's like the cockpit of an airplane now," said Officer Don Adamsky.”