The Chicago drug bust was petty stuff–a dozen dime bags of heroin and a fistful of cash changing hands in vacant lot. The way the police arrested the three alleged dealers this month provides a high-tech, digital-image window into the future of police work in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune says. A police sergeant watching video monitors at the city’s 911 Center saw a crime happening–captured by one of the department’s surveillance camera pods. The officer called the closest police district, and minutes later, officers were on the street making arrests.
The cameras “represent the future of policing,” said Rob Huberman, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication. By the end of the year the department plans to more than double the number of bulletproof camera pods mounted in high-crime neighborhoods to 80. Eventually all of them will stream live video to the 911 Center. Since late 2003, the department has had more than 30 high-visibility, bulletproof camera pods mounted above the streets in high-crime neighborhoods. Only a few newer models send images that are constantly monitored at the 911 Center. With the new technology, Huberman said, the cameras will play an increasing role in making arrests.