Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Is So Not Going To Help Your Image

Los Angeles, CA

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.


Anonymous said...

WTF? Looks like a cross between a big wheel and a Seadoo. My 4-year-old would love one.

That, or it looks like one of those things they push on the commercials, promising to give it to you for free if Medicare doesn't pay for it.

Either way, Not so hot if your a cop. The poor beat cop in the town I grew up in got shit from the kids when he got a mountain bike to cruise around on. They'd have a cop in tears running to mommy if they caught him on one of these.

Couldn't they have gotten them one of those neat two-wheeled variety? Kind of like this one but no little wheel in the center. THOSE are cool. They can't be TOO unstable...shit, I've seen them advertised with a seat for people with MS.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad the computers the LAPD uses are so old that they don't have enough memory to open an emailed 2 mb video file.

And if they want to buy their own, or you want to donate them one, LAPD policy won't allow them to connect to their network.

Many of the SLOs are into using email - it's a good way to keep in touch with the neighborhood. Just don't try to send them any surveillance video or anything like that.

Getting the LAPD decent computers is nowhere near as exciting as high-tech doodads.

Or how about just getting more LAPD officers? That should be the priority. 7 1/2 minute response time woo hoo. If they respond.