January 23, 2006

Police state, Pt III

A story in the QC Times reports on the Rock Island police department adding wireless computer terminals in squad cars. This enables them to chat with each other by text messages and to communicate without using radio communications, and to have access to all sorts of information, including a history of calls to a residence, mug shots, etc.

Rock Island had not had this techology before, while departments in Bettendorf, Moline, Davenport, East Moline and Milan have had them for some time.

But Moline is now paying for their eagerness to adopt the newest gadgets.
Francque said his department, along with East Moline and Milan, received mobile computers through a grant about five years ago. He said it took a long time for officers to adjust to the new technology.

“They have grown to be rather dependent on them now,” Francque said. “It was rather different at first, getting them use to them.”

While Moline was a leader in the technology at first, it will probably be a while before they catch up with Rock Island now.

“We’ve spent so much money on what we already have, we’ll have to wait to get our money’s worth,” Francque said.
As with most things technological, such fancy gadgets begin to become obsolete almost before they leave the store. Caution should be exercised before spending large amounts of money or using up grants for similar technology until it reaches a certain plateau of development.

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