Somewhere in the bowels of Parker Center sits LAPD’s own “Q” – the gadget-and-tech geek extraordinaire who brought the department sticky GPS tracking darts, the Santee Alley spycamsand maybe even the LAPD blog (no, wait, that last one was partly Sean‘s doing.)
I picture him as an eccentric, 5’4″ 250-pound Wilford Brimley guy with a buzzcut and a pocket protector, proudly pointing to his latest innovation: multimedia 911 calls.
The Times reports the department will install a system to funnel video, photos and SMS messages sent from 911 callers’ cellphones into the stream of 2 million calls now handled by the LAPD dispatchers …
Connecticut-based PowerPhone last year developed Incident Link Multimedia software, which allows cellphone photos and video to be delivered to 911 call centers. The technology is now being used in call centers in Colorado and Alaska.
LAPD Assistant Chief Sharon Papa said the first phase of the system — soliciting photos from certain 911 callers — could be up later this year. But it could take three years or more to complete the project. No price tag has yet been established.
The LAPD 911 centers only last year began handling wireless calls. Previously, all cellphone calls went to the California Highway Patrol, which rerouted city calls to the LAPD.
This is a cool and powerful idea and will no doubt save lives if they can build and manage it intelligently.
But you ave to wonder how many “prank” uploads the dispatchers will have to suffer (upskirt videos, Pokemon screensavers, “LAPD – STFU!”) before they get enough “useful” 911 images to justify the still-undetermined cost …