City Cops Unveil New Crime-Fighting Tools
The Philadelphia Daily News via YellowBrix
April 15, 2010
PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia police have a new crime-fighting tool, thanks in part to the city’s thugs.
Police bigwigs yesterday unveiled their Mobile Investigative Response Vehicles, two huge, technologically trumped-up vans that will enable detectives to do more police work at crime scenes instead of schlepping back to the office. Each cost $485,000 and was funded by assets forfeited by criminals and by grants from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Two years in the making, the white Dodge Sprinter vans are packed with electronic gadgetry from computers and global-positioning systems to videocameras with microwave transmitters.
Such gear will allow investigators to do things they previously had to do in the office, such as take and record witness statements and access all the department’s databases, said Gery Cardenas, the department’s information-technology director.
They’ll be field-tested during the next few weeks and tweaked as detectives suggest improvements, Cardenas said.
Eventually, investigators will be able to do other tasks in the vans as well, such as access databases of other city agencies and access the fingerprint identification system, Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
“We unfortunately have more than enough [crime] scenes, so these will be pretty busy,” Ramsey said.
The vans were a priority for Ramsey when he took over Philly’s top-cop post. The Washington, D.C., force, which Ramsey helmed from 1998 until 2006, had similar vehicles that increased investigators’ efficiency, he said.
The vans are tall and thin to navigate narrow streets. They look like a cross between a recreational camper and a TV news van, with a satellite perched on top.
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