Four million dollars worth of cameras and computers are transforming some Hollywood, Fl., police cars into real-life versions of the crime-fighting Batmobile, the Miami Herald reports. The money, approved by voters last November,- is putting 255 wireless laptops into squad cars with voice-activated software. Officers will be able to check tag numbers without lifting a finger off the steering wheel. The cost: $10,000 a car. Police will be able to reassign data-entry clerks and eliminate hundreds of paper files under the new system.
To check a license plate, officers can simply read the tag into a microphone mounted on the visor, instead of reporting it via radio and waiting for a dispatcher to check. Male and female robotic voices respond. The laptops also give officers access to federal and state databases. If they come up with someone who is wanted, an alarm rings. Issuing traffic tickets is easier than ever. Swipe a driver’s license; a portable printer spits out the ticket. A small, roof-mounted box houses three digital cameras to capture images and sound — black and white at night, color during the day, a zoom camera for close-ups. Another camera focuses on the back-seat prisoner compartment.