Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Future cop

Live viewMonday was brutal for many Lincoln residents. Although we were forewarned about the approach of a good old-fashioned Nebraska blizzard, no one had forecast the freezing drizzle that preceded the snow.  I was at the gym early and knew it would be a mess, so on the way to work I  zig-zagged through residential areas and made it downtown without any problem.  But most people were caught  without warning, and the black-ice at rush hour wreaked havoc with the morning commute.  By days end we have investigated 100 traffic crashes on the nose.

Down at HQ, I was in the conference room with the City’s traffic camera network dialed up on the big screen, checking the unfolding chaos.  The mile-long stretch of Old Cheney Road between 27th and 40th Street was especially messy.  A five car pile up at about 32nd Street had the eastbound lanes entirely closed, and on the westbound side, most of the cars couldn’t make it up the slope.  As a result, the entire four lane roadway was at a standstill, backed up to the lights in both directions.  Watching the camera feed, it was obvious that the best way for the responding police officers to approach would be through the neighborhoods from the north or south.  If you were on Old Cheney Road, you would be stuck in the same jam as everyone else.

In the future, I can almost guarantee that police officers dispatched to things like traffic crashes or alarms will have the same kind of information at their disposal as I had in that conference room, only it will be automated and integrated with the computer-aided dispatch and automated vehicle locator system.  When the traffic crash is dispatched, the feed from a nearby camera system will be delivered to the cockpit of the patrol car.  A dispatch to an alarm might automatically launch the camera from the interior,  a mapping application with the best routing, an oblique aerial image of the vicinity, and a .pdf of the floor plan.  All of these resources exist now, to one extent or another, and will eventually be integrated to provide police officers with situational awareness unimagined by our predecessors.


Dave said...

Gosh Tom, as a geek the technology you described is the stuff that geeks dream about playing with.

It's really cool to read about all the technology LPD uses. Makes me wish I could see it all in action, or use it as an Officer. If only I were a younger man. I'd be like a kid in a candy store and wearing this huge grin on my face.

Adam said...

The only thing the officers will need is the same phone that 24's Jack Bauer uses!

Anonymous said...

Chief-I have a very high-tech weather predictor. He didn't see his shadow today. Spring will be early. Good news for all of us stuck in this storm.


Anonymous said...

Can we just start with air cards in all cruisers and MDT's that stay logged on ALL shift? I know, I know, I'm on the "list".

Anonymous said...


How is that secure, high-speed lilypad thing coming along?

Anonymous said...

4:08 Superfluous items like an air card are low on the priority list. Do like many others do, stick your own air card in and use that. You will save the city money and allow them to apply money to other things.

Let's see how long it will be until someone mentions the new Haymarket Arena as a possible recipient.