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i'm a full time municipal police officer on the South Shore. Our department has between 8 to 16 cars on the road per shift - all of them have GPS, the sergeant cruisers have a map of the community that shows precisely where each car is and how fast they are traveling. there is one in the LT's office and a giant plasma screen that they can zoom in on any car to see precisely where they are. the maps show little cruisers w/ their # and speed moving around the screen. it has never been used against us. has helped a few officers who have gotten into struggles and could not answer radio or give their location - how about you ? any consequences good or bad with gps ? :?:
 

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GPS.......Hmmmm maybe at some point in the future (way in the future) but not anytime soon. I personally could care less if it was installed but I know a few out there that do their best to conserve on tire wear :sl: might not think too highly of it.
 

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We have the GPS system in our vehicles. The station can track the cars but we did ot purchase the option that you guys have, tracking other cars on your own laptop in the car. That ECHO unit update is about $500 extra per each vehicle. GPS records your speeds and displays your location and speeds live, but there is a delay(about 5-10 seconds sometimes). It's a management tool and we have been very fortunate that our Chief is a great manager and does not use the GPS to get guys in trouble. I have heard that Tewksbury is suing their department because their Dep.Chief uses it as a tool for disciplinary purposes. I understand that the arguement is officer safety, therefore the GPS should only display live(where the vehicles are located) and not record to see how fast Officer.Smith was travelling last night and see if he exceeded the posted speed limit, something that was enforced in Tewksbury. We will see where this ends up. I also heard two officers from Hudson got reprimanded due to GPS while they were pursuing a vehicle.
 

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masstroopers1 said:
My spin is that the bad guys who are serious about their trade, the big time traffickers and the like, the ones who will spend $25,000 to rig a mule vehicle with traps will easily be able to purchase and install the technology to track our vehicles. Imagine how good it could be for your business if you knew where the cops were all the time. Imagine how easy it would be for a terrorist cell, who are technologically adept and VERY well funded, to take out every patrol in 5 minutes time because they know where they all are. Go ahead, call it farfetched, but there are people who would have said that about not 1, not 2, but 3 (and almost 4) commercial airliners being used as kamikaze flights against us.

If your cruiser is emitting a signal which constantly gives your location and that signal can be received by your HQ, then the signal can be received by the bad guys. Encryption is nice but you get a motivated 13 year old and the best encryption can fail. The expense of maintaining such a secure network would be prohibitive IMO. One cloned hard drive from an unscrupulous civilian contractor with big debts or an expensive nose candy habit and (zip!) there goes your security.

Officer safety is a valid argument; in that case if you hit the panic button on your radio it should transmit your location. If HQ is unable to reach you, they should be able to trigger a location hit. During a pursuit or other specific circumstances, you should be able to transmit your location so a supervisor can coordinate the operation. Control of the transmission should lie at the officer's discretion (bona fide emergency situations notwithstanding). If management thinks you are sleeping / shirking / speeding / slacking, let them provide just cause before sinking a boatload of money into a Big Brother system. Nothing like the feeling that it's OK for you to carry a gun and deprive people of their freedom of movement and liberty, seize copious amounts of cash or narcotics, but you can't be trusted to drive a car. If your administration wants to know where you are all the time, they should hire a supervisor to ride along with every patrol.

Also, if it's such a good idea, answer me this: Do the patrols themselves have the capability to bring up the map on their computers and see where their backup is, or are only supervisors granted this privilege? Hmmm...
Very well thought out, and very well said.
 

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Related to what Masstroopers1 said. I wrote a paper on Cyber-Terrorism for a graduate class and I came across a specific incident where terrorists did just what he is desribing! Here's the part of my paper:

"Consultants and contractors are frequently in a position where they could cause grave harm. In March of 2000, Japan's Metropolitan Police Department reported that a software system they had procured to track 150 police vehicles, including unmarked cars, had been developed by the Aum Shinryko cult, the same group that gassed the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 12 people and injuring 6,000 more. At the time of the discovery, the cult had received classified tracking data on 115 vehicles. Further, the cult had developed software for at least 80 Japanese firms and 10 government agencies. They had worked as subcontractors to other firms, making it almost impossible for the organizations to know who was developing the software. As subcontractors, the cult could have installed Trojan horses to launch or facilitate cyber-terrorist attacks at a later date".

As for the motivated 13 year old kid. A 12 year old kid hacked into the controls of the Roosevelt Dam in Arizona in 1998 and could have opened the floodgates and killed millions around Mesa and Tempe, but for some reason he didn't. So this stuff can be done very easily.
 

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I've seen this posted before and replies were pretty much the same. Just another way to screw with the route guys. Officer safety my ass... I get in the shit I'm 99.9% sure I'll be outta the car.. You want to claim "officer safety" put a gps chip in my portable that says where I'm at when I hit the E button.. Screw the cruiser, come find ME....

MT1, righteous man, good call....
 

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MT1, those are excellent points and could be a good arguement for unions that are fighting to keep these GPS "Trunk Sergeants" which is what they are called around here, out of the cruisers. Chiefs sell these things as officer safety programs, but they record EVERYTHING you do on your shift and if a Chief doesn't use it as an against you thats great, but that changes quickly when the sh*t hits the fan.

Every agency that has them around here has regretted allowing them to be installed. Like Duece said, its another way to screw the route guys!!

Stay safe!!
 

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GPS

While nothing is totally secure, GPS running digital encryption is very secure. The prospect of someone hacking into the signal as justification for not using it is, in my opinion, a weak "spin" or counter-argument. There are data encryption algorithims which offer a very high degree of security. To date, nobody has cracked Aether's (formerly Cerulean's) PacketCluster system - many people have tried.

GPS has several benefits such as more efficient dispatching and allocation of manpower, office safety, and yes supervisory functions.

The installation of such units would not likely consistitute a "change in working conditions" because a Department could have a supervisor follow patrol officers around anyway. This is just an electronic means of supervision and is supported by several Labor Relations Cases dealing with electronic means of supervision. Also, AVL could be a source of exculpatory evidence (proving that a particular officer was not where a complaintant alleged him or her to be - or not speeding when he or she was alleged to have been speeding).

If you're not doing anything wrong, why worry about a supervisor monitoring you? I would just hope that supervisors would be reasonable about it.
 

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Re: GPS

Brian823 said:
If you're not doing anything wrong, why worry about a supervisor monitoring you? I would just hope that supervisors would be reasonable about it.
How about the reverse...If I'm not doing anything wrong, why do I need a supervisor to monitor me?

Management, when it seeks to limit its liability, is anything but reasonable. The same system that might exonerate you from an incident will certainly burn you should your supervisors deem it necessary.

:alcoholi:
 

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I patrol 28 square miles and sometimes I am it on the shift. So efficient dispatch does not mean anything.When we have two or three officers on shift they have their sectors. So you dispatch the sector car for that call. Only good thing i see with it, alot of times i need to go to a call , the houses have no number, i ask dispatch to direct me and they will tell me exactly where the house is (Ex. 1200 feet on left, you're almost there). Good at night. A problem with it is that everything is public record. Some guy you pulled over for speeding can request the data, your average speeds on shift, etc... What if you went to a call and got in an accident(looks at speeds etcc). What if you didn't respond fast enough to a call, you are doing 30 mph to a medical, it goes on and on.
 

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Two problems emerged immediately during discussion amonst the Management:
1. "We don't want it in our cars...just theirs!"
Well what if you're the closest trained po, aren't you required to respond? Just because you have stars and bars doesn't mean you have the day off.

2. Management would have to develope a procedure to monitor all the activity, either daily or weekly, and take action on each "violation". If they did not, then a very strong case for disparate treatment would arise. I know that my first request would be for all the data on file.

I trust we are moving away from implementing, "skunk in the trunk".
 

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Re :

How about the reverse...If I'm not doing anything wrong, why do I need a supervisor to monitor me?

Applying that logic - why run radar or do speed enforcement? Some people are "self-policing" others need supervision / incentive. (not to mention the other non-supervisory benefits of L.E.)

I believe you can divide cops into three general categories:

(1) Proactive police officers - those here for the right reasons that love the job and do it well. On the job for the right reasons - to help people and arrest criminals.

(2) "Firefighters" - answer the bell when it goes off they respond to calls and generally do the right thing...but no proactivity. They will do the bare minimum to get by.

(3) Slackers - here because of detail$ and the almighty Quinn Bill (a la Were Not Eactly College, Anna Maria for the Master Degria, if you're in a hurry go to Curry, would you like fries with that Diploma, etc...) These people have ZERO committment to L.E. - (would just as easily be firefighters or postal employees). They squeeze absolutely every beneift out of the job and won't make an arrest unless the suspect jumps into the back of their idling cruiser, cuffs himself and offers to write the report and buy the cop a coffee. (oh, did I say buy....I forgot, this type isn't shy about using masterbadge...."crime doesn't pay and niether do we...mentality..." They are the first to assert every contractual right and have ZERO pride. I do not even consider these people police officers. (maybe this should be posted under the "who's a cop / L.E. discussion."

Regarding management not wanting it in their cars....

It is more valuable for line/route cars - these are the people responding to calls.

Does the Chief / Deputy Chief / Commissioner wear body armor under his or her suit?, carry a full size firearm?, Have a .12GA shotgun or M-16 in his car, or a MDT / Mobile Laptop? drive a marked sled?

Probably Not.

Reason why: they're not primary responders and don't have/need all the tools. I know of a chief who wants an MP-5 in his cruiser....WHY??? (just wants to play with the toy.) Generally no need to outfit an administrator's car like a patrol car. (unless you're in a one-horse town...can I speak to the Chief?...Um..he's on a school post....he's running radar...)

Also, they are the superivsors and not supervisees. If you want their jobs, lock yourself in a closet for 6 months and study for promotional exams - you too can have stars and bars.
 

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I forgot...re: "Two problems emerged immediately during discussion amonst the Management." For reasons mentioned already, I firmly believe there is no need to negotiate the installation of GPS/AVL. I wouldn't even have a discussion over it. The "change in working conditions" would come when / IF management tried to enforce new regulations or change standards. (example:

DOC case - you got written up if you were more than 15 minutes late...thats the standard...

DOC starts writing people up for being 10 minutes late.... Change in working conditions because you're lowering the tollerance.

So, as long as management doesn't change the standards - no need to have discussions regarding GPS/AVL (from a labor relations standpoint.) If the Union insisted on it, I would say that it takes away one of their duties and responsibilities (they're required to give their location over the radio when called - this relieves them of that burden.)

We were recently re-programming some portables - someone started the rumor that we were installing GPS into the units - nobody wanted to bring their radio in for re-programming (pretty funny.) Also, we had some wires coming out a raised floor in dispatch (new CJIS hook up or something like that) - someone put a sign on them "GPS hook-up" - that created quite a stir too - good for laughs. Interestingly enough - the workers were not complaining - they were too busy writing cites and making arrests - only the slackers complained.
 

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H50 said:
I have heard that Tewksbury is suing their department because their Dep.Chief uses it as a tool for disciplinary purposes. I understand that the arguement is officer safety, therefore the GPS should only display live(where the vehicles are located) and not record to see how fast Officer.Smith was travelling last night and see if he exceeded the posted speed limit, something that was enforced in Tewksbury. We will see where this ends up.
I have heard some very similar stories about TPD... does anyone else have any information about this? PM if necessary, thanks.

-Mike
 

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Yes - they have GPS/AVL and the guys don't like it. The DC loves it. Caught a Sgt. speeding the first night - guy wanted to test the system was driving 100+

The DC runs daily reports - cars sitting idle on mid shift for over X # of minutes, speeds over __ MPH, etc...
 

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I was reading an article on the downsides of the tracking systems in a trade magazine a while back. One of the surprising 'associated costs' that a department was trying to reduce was wear and added maintenence to their fleet. The way the department had their system configured (which is very similar to TPD's) had an alarm sound at 10 minute and 20 minute time periods if the cruiser remained idle in one location. If an alarm was received, the officer would have to write a report on why he/she was idle for the time period. Units off on assigned calls were exempt but officers monitoring traffic for violators were not. Management said that in the 10 minutes, an officer should be able to locate a violator. Well, officers began to stop traffic monitoring functions and began to become more mobile. The department saw officers who used to average 40-50 miles per night on the cruiser, start racking up double and triple the amount! The department's fleet started to fall apart sooner than budgeted. Also, X-amount of 'alarm reports' could result in disciplinary action.
 

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According to the guy from Motorola who is installing GPS in our cars, the tan colored wire behind the CPU disconnects the GPS but still allows the laptop computer to function.

"geez sarge, I don't know how that happened, it must have been those guys from Mids."
 

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Well said MT1, as always :D . Brian I do not think you are a police officer and you do not understand the issue. TPD is a micro management police department and all the guys there hate working there because of one person. I am very proactive, put lots of miles, write lots of tickets and all the other things that make a proactive cop. When you work the night shift, you can't just drive up and down the roads. You get tired and it's just plain stupid. I sit in different locations and run random plates, i might be there for an hour or two. As I said, our Chief is great and understands what it's like to work at night and the GPS units were here before he took over. You don't need a GPS to determine how good a cop is, there are other methods. As MT1 said and proven in TPD, it just alienates everyone and makes you want to do less of a job then you are able, because you are constantly worried about being written up. If TPD wins all this will be a moot point, because everyone else will follow suit.
 

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Like everything else - it's not the technology - GPS/AVL is not inherently bad - it's what you do with the information. You have to be reasonable. Unions should expend their resources fighting unreasonable uses of information instead of the use of the devices themselves.

I agree with Masstroopers - You don't need a GPS to identify the workers or slackers - it's no secret in any agency. However, it is a good tool to discipline the slackers (if it's warranted.)

Re: Quinn Bill - I totally agree that cops need to be educated. It should be a job requirement - don't even apply w/o a Bachelor's Degree from a legitimate school. You can be a cop with a GED - how can law enforcement be a profession? A profession requires higher formal education. Some CJ programs are legitimate others are not.
 

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O.K.
two important points;

1. Proactive is a buzzword. It's not a legitimate dictionary word

2. I have a Bachelors degree in Earth Science! (Ha Ha! I don't need no stinkin Quinn bill, I work Details and O.T. for my money!) So GPS is my friend. Don't be afraid of it. Just don't let your union let them, use it against you!

P.S. I really loved the Anna Maria comment!
 
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