R2D2-style robots are being used to patrol parking lots, shopping centers and corporate campuses in California. They can read license plates and detect humans in places they’re not supposed to be. Funding for robotics startups hit nearly $600 million last year as investors bank on these machines supplementing–if not supplanting–human security guards and police officers.
Distracted-driving fatalities continue to climb, but police say texting while driving is trending upward–even though motorists are well aware of the danger. “It’s everyone, kids, older people — everyone,” says a Massachusetts cop. “When I stop someone, they say, ‘You’re right. I know it’s dangerous, but I heard my phone go off and I had to look at it.'”
Like other government entities across the country, Humboldt County, Calif., is considering protocols to standardize the release of video from police car dash cams and officer body cams. San Diego’s policy–to release the video soon after prosecutors have decided whether to bring criminal charges–is considered a template.
An Ohio company, funded by a private police donor, has used a Cessna airplane to conduct about 300 hours of aerial surveillance over Baltimore since January. This came as a surprise to the mayor and city council. Police said the secretive program may have crime-fighting potential.
The disclosure that a private company was contracted to provide 300 hours of secret aerial surveillance for the Baltimore police has fueled outrage by civil liberties advocates, but city officials said the program was only an expansion of existing street-level camera used in its CitiWatch system.