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OPINION: Congress must heed cops on broadband

July 27, 2010 | National News

By William J. Bratton
POLITICO

In more than 40 years in law enforcement, I have been part of a revolution in policing technology.

When I began as a Boston police officer, walkie-talkies were so bulky that no one wanted to carry them. Years later, while I was New York City police commissioner, the New York Police Department developed the COMPSTAT model of policing—using timely information, gained through technology, to drastically cut crime rates. Today, many police departments have real time crime centers, leveraging new communications technology to do a more effective job fighting crime.

Police officers — like everyone else with a smart phone these days — are just beginning to use broadband to share an ever-widening array of information and to do their jobs better.

Police now send streaming video to mobile incident command centers. They rely on wireless broadband for automatic vehicle location and dispatch systems. Automated license-plate readers flag criminals driving stolen cars. Biometric and hazardous material detection devices protect critical infrastructure.

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