The LAPD has always been on the forefront of technology. Part of the force's strength, as well as its weakness, is its heavy reliance on squad cars and helicopters over walking a beat. What they gain in mobility over an increased landscape, a necessity in the sprawl that is Los Angeles, they lose in face to face community presence.
Bridging that gap is difficult at best. It's not that they don't try, it's that, sometimes, they try too hard.
"Is this a Segway?" a man asked Breegle. No, it's a T3 personal mobility vehicle, he responded. "How fast can you go?" another asked Rodriguez. About 25 mph, he answered.Oh, come on. Scooters? What, are we French all of a sudden? That's just what we need. Kevlar and Vespas.
Los Angeles police say the bicycle helmets they must wear while driving the T3 are a turnoff, adding a dorky look to an otherwise sleek machine.No. No no no no no. It is not the helmet that is dorky. It is the John Deere lawnmower you're standing on. Amp up the speed, make it remote controlled, stick a .50 cal turret on it and then it will be cool. Maybe. If you add a grenade launcher. You know, for beanbags and tear gas. And tasers. Fore and aft.
This is why I'm not in charge of the LAPD's community outreach program.
It's not all bad, though. In the Times article on the LAPD's use of emerging tech, they outline some of the new squad car equipment being tested. Some of the tech has been around for a while, some of it is just now being rolled out.
License plate recognition systems (impressive), a GPS dart gun to tag fleeing vehicles (okay, that one's cool), receivers to grab video feeds from street cameras (creepy and slightly suspect), in-car fingerprint matching (useful), facial recognition (a lawsuit waiting to happen) and windshield and back seat cameras (the best idea so far).
Impressive, ain't it? Too bad it tacks on an extra $100K per car. Considering that we're short on police and the money to pay them, this is a bit of a turnoff.