Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Phonecam on the Scene

Today, the Police Commission approved a report advancing my initiative (.pdf) to allow individuals to snap a cameraphone picture of a crime or accident scene and send it to law-enforcement officials over the 911 system. It's an exciting prospect, covered at length in today's Daily News.

Los Angeles can be a leader in the use of technology to improve public safety. LAPD Commander Charlie Beck, who I worked with closely to install security cameras in various crime hot-spots in my district, once shared with me the importance of putting police radios in patrol cars - allowing police to go from call to call without cumbersome treks back to the station house. We've come a long way since those pre-radio days, but we should be bold in adopting new technologies to help make our neighborhoods after.

Once we perfect technical issues, from system capacity to the quality of images sent, we can look at exploring other non-emergency uses of this technology that are compatible with the the City's 311 "One Call to City Hall" system: Here's that abandoned couch on the street I want to report...and fill this pothole too!

The LAFD issued a report that raised some issues with the proposal, but I know that we can work together to address some technical issues to integrate the software with the 911 system in a way that doesn't hold up our updates, or interfere in anyway with standard 911 phone calls.