Today, in the front seat of each Pittsburgh 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, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’re creating this technology in-house,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Sixty patrol cars now have tiny printers that produce waterproof citations and can read and extract information from scanned driver’s licenses.
Officers in one area 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,” 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.