Mar 04

Somebody Tell the Cops to Stop Watching 'Inspector Gadget'

Isiah Carey at FOX 26 tonight gives us the Insite on a report that the Houston Police Department is wanting to invest in handheld metal detectors and bulletproof partitions for patrol cars.

In my line of work (Information Technology), I frequently get requests from someone who wants technology to do a 'big-brother' type control over an employees actions.  The technology I work with does not have that kind of function for good reasons.  My response is, and always will be that the technology will not fix the problem, but it may help Human Resources in documenting the problem (and at that point, let Human Resources deal with it).

HPD seems to be in that mode, but Mayor White and Chief Hurtt seem to not have the word "NO" in their vocabulary.  We've seen money pumped out for red light cameras, tazers, cameras on tazers, and now the metal detectors and bulletproof partitions.

First, how much more room does an officer have on his belt?  All these gadgets can not be good for the officer to have to carry, along with his nightstick (they do still carry them don't they?) gun, bullets, handcuffs, etc.

Second, where is the money going to come from to fund these programs?  My bet, like always will be to slow the backfill of the already understaffed department.

That leads back to my point earlier.  The problem with HPD today is it is hundreds of officers short of what it needs.  Throwing more technology at the problem is not going to fix it – only hiring more officers will.

I challenge anyone from city council to respond to the question of where the funding is going to come from for this, and I ask them why a mandate to rebuild HPD's staffing levels has not been brought before the council.

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