Dallas Police Chief Reveals Technology Wish List

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The City Council heard Dallas Police Chief David Brown's technology wish list which he hopes will help make Dallas the safest big city in America. (Published Monday, Feb 25, 2013)

    A Dallas police technology wish list received support Monday from Dallas City Council members who think it will help improve the city's crime rate.

    Police Chief David Brown said technology has already helped police remove Dallas from the tenth place among the ten U.S. cities of more than one million population.

    Dallas is currently seventh but hopes to be fifth with last year's numbers and wants to be the safest big city in America.

    "It's a challenge for us and just our human ability sometimes, it falls short of solving a lot of crimes," Brown said.

    The list includes:

    • 11 more 3 wheel standing electric vehicles for other parts of the city added to the 9 currently in use downtown.
    • 400 more surveillance cameras to be posted in crime hot spots, bringing the Dallas total to 542.
    • 42 more Bait Cars equipped with cameras that help catch auto thieves, making the Dallas Bait Car total 56.
    • 28 new license tag reading cameras to be mounted on stationary poles or roving on squad cars to find and stop wanted vehicles.

    The license tag cameras will record data so police can check back for a suspect vehicle after a crime was committed, but Dallas Police plan to keep that data for only 90 days.

    "In our effort to balance the city's safety with privacy concerns, we chose a very restrictive retention schedule of 3 months," Brown said.

    The Dallas City Council Public Safety Committee heard to technology plan Wednesday and members were pleased.

    "You have expanded my vision of what this technology can do, so I strongly favor using this technology and using it as soon as possible," said councilwoman Vonciel Hill.

    "I see this as valuable in improving neighborhoods, by reducing crime and in economic development. I think when you balance those two interests, the interest of having this technology outweighs any adversity for privacy concerns," she said.

    Chief Brown said license tag reading cameras could have been posted near the Katy Trail last summer to help locate the getaway car being used by robbery suspects who were preying on visitors.

    "We can quickly create really a virtual fence. If a car is involved it will read data and give us leads, where we don't have leads," Brown said.

    Surveillance cameras already posted in the Uptown Dallas area helped produce a 58 percent reduction in crime the past five years, according to police.

    Brown hopes donations from people interested in improving the crime rate will help pay for most of the new gear.

    Donations and grants have paid for much of the equipment Dallas already has.

    Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston said the improved technology should not come at the expense of officers working the streets.

    "I think officers are exciting about new technology, but they need to see their pay steps implemented which have been frozen for the last 4 years," Pinkston said.

    Salary improvements are being discussed as part of a new city budget to take effect October 1st.

    Additional manpower will also be required to monitor and process all the additional video information.