Law Enforcement agencies are always finding new ways to use technology; today some law enforcement agencies are testing Google Glasses.
Google Glasses is basically a wearable computer that is currently being developed by Google. The Glasses are connected to the internet and responds through voice commands similar to a smartphone, but without using any hands. Glasses are only available through the Glass Explorer Program, where you have to apply online to be a part of the project. Once you are approved you can purchase the device for $1,500.
Google has said that it does not actively recruit law enforcement agencies to use the glasses, but earlier this month the New York City Police confirmed that the department is already using the Glasses. Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis says that the department received two pairs in December, but the Glasses have yet to be used in patrol operations. The NYPD also said that they are always looking for ways they can use technology and where in the department it will be the most useful and beneficial.
New York isn’t the only police department looking to test out the Glasses. The Los Angeles Police Department has applied to be a part of the program. Several departments around Boston have applied and a police sergeant in Byron, GA has also tested out the Glasses as well.
Eric Farris, a police sergeant from Byron has tested out the Glasses with a program called CopTrax installed onto the glasses. The software was loaded into the Glasses and according to Farris everything that was recorded through the glasses was then recorded back into their camera system and police vehicles. This can make for less work and more efficient traffic stops and citations.
But some agencies cannot afford the hefty $1,500 price tag. For example the San Francisco Police Department is not ruling out the Glasses, but has talked about outfitting their “plain clothes” officers with body cameras to get the same effect as the Glasses would give. The SFPD has also given their patrol officers smartphones, this way they can have easy access to police databases on a secure network.
So while law enforcement agencies are utilizing the newest technologies, the biggest concern is the issue of privacy and how it will affect citizens. It could however protect citizens from abusive police practices if the officers were utilizing the Glasses. Another concern is that the new technology also displays information, so police could walk around and immediately be able to do facial recognition of a person or “tag”/ label them for other officers to see.
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