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Police Cars To Transmit Real-Time Video 149

Posted by Soulskill
from the aka-donut-shop-webcam dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "In the first such system deployed in the country, police vehicles in Ponca City, Oklahoma will have wireless video cameras installed so precinct dispatchers and supervisors can monitor activities during traffic stops in real time, and quickly deploy additional officers and resources if necessary. The system to provide an added level of monitoring and protection for its force is part of a broadband mesh network comprised of more than 490 wireless nodes and gateways connected to 120 miles of fiber backbone that will provide coverage for approximately 30 square miles of the city. The network will provide field communications for city services including police, fire and emergency, parks and recreation, public works and energy, but will also be used to provide free wireless internet access for all residents of the city. 'The testing of this network showed that it was robust enough to handle not only municipal traffic, but also citizens' traffic.' said Mayor Homer Nicholson. 'So the Ponca City Board of Commissioners voted to allow the extra internet access to be given to the citizens of Ponca City for free.' The second phase of the project will expand the network and wireless coverage to more than 430 square miles surrounding the city with an estimated annual cost savings of over $1 million for city residents, who can discontinue their existing internet service. 'Our goal is to be one of the most mobile communities in America, and this is a significant step in that direction,' said Nicholson."
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Police Cars To Transmit Real-Time Video

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  • Fine, Just Fine... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slifox (605302) * on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:19PM (#25858065)

    I say this is a good thing, but we shouldn't stop there. I'd say everyone's car should have [hidden] video cameras...

    Anything that happens on public ground, especially involving public servants (i.e. police), should be considered to be recorded by the public. Privacy in public is an outdated concept, and has never truly existed anyways (so give it up). Someone will be watching -- the question is, is everyone watching, or is it a one-sided situation (like the CCTV system in the UK)?

    Events taking place on public ground should never come down to "his word vs. mine." In cases where this involves police, then the police officers' word is always given more credit than the citizens'. Now while this is probably a reasonable bias to have, it neglects the fact that police officers are just humans too, and are themselves just as influenced by biases as anyone else. Video recordings have no bias...

    This is essentially becoming a reality, especially considering that most everyone's phone has a camera. Let's see what happens the next time there is an instance of abuse of authority, say during a traffic stop or what-have-you...

    As Marge Simpson said...

    You know, the courts may not be working any more, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Good idea! And since the wifi network will be open for public use, you may get exactly that.
      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @02:37PM (#25858995) Homepage Journal
        Funny...I was just thinking now, that in addition to a radar detector, I'd need to rig up and install a wireless 'detector'...and have it trigger a wireless jammer so they couldn't watch me as I went by.....

        Staying invisible to the cops these days is getting more and more high tech.

        :)

      • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @03:13PM (#25859257) Homepage

        i don't know about being monitored all the time (just because i'm in public doesn't mean i want people whom i can't see watching me over an internet video stream), but i think the wireless mesh network could definitely be expanded to non-city-vehicles.

        perhaps with the integration of vehicle GPS systems such networks can provide real-time traffic reports/analysis to drivers. i'd be interested in seeing whether this kind of smart p2p "traffic network" could optimize traffic flow by directing drivers to the most efficient route with regards to traffic conditions.

        if a freeway gets too backed up, it can slow down or cause traffic jams in other connected freeways. but if people can look up real-time traffic information then they might avoid congested routes, preventing severe traffic jams from forming. this would also help distribute traffic flow more evenly rather than having a few overcrowded routes and a bunch of underutilized routes.

        this would also lower the cost of rolling out wireless access in a lot of areas.

    • by jacquesm (154384) <jNO@SPAMww.com> on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:16PM (#25858451) Homepage

      I can see one good thing coming out of this (and a lot of not so good things), which is that there will be no more 'lost tapes'.

      • by sticky.pirate (1114263) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @02:15PM (#25858821)
        There will still be lost tapes, only the excuses will change; "our servers were offline during that period", "the hard drive got corrupted", "viruses", "microwave radiation interference", et cetera. I'm sure most supervisors can be trusted (and most officers, as well), but some are going to be tempted to erase evidence of wrong-doing, just as some officers in the field will be tempted to turn off the camera. As long as we rely on the police to police themselves, there will always be possible ways to get around these kinds of things. What we would really need is for those real-time video feeds to be open to the public
        • As long as we rely on the police to police themselves, there will always be possible ways to get around these kinds of things. What we would really need is for those real-time video feeds to be open to the public.

          Exactly. Both the video and the information that video is not being transmitted need to be made available to the public in realtime so that both be recorded by people who do not have a vested interest in covering up events that might occur on video.

          Even then, the result will be that illegal behavior by the police will just move off-camera - like into the backseat of the police car.

    • by bwalling (195998) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:33PM (#25858559) Homepage
      I disagree WRT to everyone being recorded. Sorry, but there's a difference between some people I don't know seeing me pick my nose and it being recorded for future ridicule. However, I do believe that the police should be recorded at all times. They are given considerable power, and recording is a reasonable means of providing oversight.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by iamhassi (659463)
        "However, I do believe that the police should be recorded at all times. They are given considerable power, and recording is a reasonable means of providing oversight."

        Exactly.

        Wonder what the job market is like in Ponca City because this is enough for me to move there. This is the best news I've ever heard to prevent police corruption and increase productivity. City leaders in Ponca City really know how to support their constituents.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          this is enough for me to move there

          That is a RIDICULOUS statement. You want to move to PONCA CITY, OKLAHOMA for the SOLE reason that their police cars will be equipped with real-time video cameras? SERIOUSLY? Do you OFTEN have run-ins with the cops that end up with you being falsely convicted of crimes due to the lack of oversight? Are you fucking BLACK?

          Oh no, that last sentence will get me a -1, Flamebait. But I am serious.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by wmbetts (1306001)
          I've been there and if you like being a farm hand, ruff neck, or gas station attendant then you'd fit right in.

          While I think this is a good thing it would have been better to deploy this in Tulsa or Oklahoma City.

          While we're at it stick cameras in the Oklahoma County Jail. So when people are being abused there it's all recorded. It's sad when the feds have to come in and audit the jail, because of all the officer abuse.
        • by Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:09PM (#25859647)

          this is the best news I've ever heard to prevent police corruption and increase productivity

          Huh? Is my sarcasm meter blinking out? You are joking, right? Is someone going to review all this video? If it's not open to the public (who would watch it- distributed computing through voyeurism) who watches the video to make sure the cops really are doing their job,"increasing productivity", etc? I won't use a car analogy here since we're actually talking about something car related. But $1M isn't cost savings when you pay in taxes rather than in ISP fees, and hiring more and more levels of security to watch people is not real security, nor efficient. If society has really reached the point where everyone has to be watched and no one can be trusted, then is that society worth saving, or is it just another failed experiment to be tossed into history's dust bin?

          • I think it will be enough to just hold onto the footage for about a week, instead of full real-time monitoring.
            The trick is that the authorities will need to create a claim/complaint system where citizens can request the footage for later use.

            Especially footage of any ticket or arrest.

            A Friend of mine has been abused by police (hungry police dog) and taken to the station for defending themselves. When they came by the next day to lodge a complaint the record of the incedient was 'lost'.

        • Newport Beach, California has had video recorders on its police units since at least 1997, and it's great. It helps cops prove their cases, and has a huge effect on keeping officers out of abuse complaints, both real and false accusations.

          The reality is, most police are actually in favor of this once they realize how it helps them do their job and keeps them out of trouble.

          I've actually seen a case made by one of these tapes. I've sat in a DA's conference room watching as a DUI investigation a defens
          • UK police cars have had video recorders for many years too -- probably from the early/mid 90s. They aren't ever broadcast live. Edited collections of tapes are shown on TV in programs like "Police, camera, action!" where they show loads of speeding drivers getting caught etc, but they always blur the faces of non-policemen, and car number plates etc.

            I think I read recently that some police here were being given clip-on cameras that attached to their clothing. This would save them a lot of time in noting dow

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by kent_eh (543303)

            BTW, even for those departments that don't have video, many cops these days carry mobile audio recorders and they push "record" when they talk to suspects.

            Yup. My brother does this.
            If the guy in the back seat won't stop trash talking and generally being a loudmouth asshole, he simply puts the recorder on the dash, and presses record in a visible dramatic sort of way.
            Instant silence, and politeness from the back seat.

      • by dave420 (699308)
        Don't take care of private business in public, then :) Problem solved.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bwalling (195998)
          As a private citizen, I am not endowed with any extraordinary powers. As such, there is no compelling reason to record my public activities. With police officers, they are public employees who are given extraordinary powers. As such, there is a compelling reason to record their activities while in the act of their public duties involving these powers.

          On the other side, there is a compelling and important reason to not record the activities of the general public. It would provide the government with a
          • by dave420 (699308)
            So your real problem isn't being recorded, but being recorded by a malevolent government. Surely the correct course of action would be to ensure the government is incapable of abuse, instead of trying to prop up a potentially-abusive government by tying its hands behind its back. Fix the cause, not the symptom. There are benefits to CCTV, so it seems rather short-sighted to deny society those benefits just for some false sense of security, that it's one less useful thing the evil government has access to
            • by bwalling (195998)
              It's easy to say "ensure the government is incapable of abuse". Until a solution to this can be provided, I will oppose video taping the country. It only takes another 9/11 before any restrictions you think you put in place are revoked as part of the knee jerk political action that will be undertaken to make the populace feel safer.
              • by dave420 (699308)
                So we should get rid of the police entirely, then, as they can cause untold damage in the hands of corrupt politicians. Not to mention the armed forces. Fix the cause, not the symptoms. Your attitude would allow a corrupt government to exist - it's a very dangerous game. Instead of trying to chain the corrupt government by tying its hands behind its back, fix the fucking thing and get a good government. It's not impossible.
          • So you assume this technology has not been developed already?
            With the current state of facial recognition and on-line banking records, movement of anyone van be traced with relative ease.

            The only thing keeping this in check is the fact that they can't legally use this technology unless you're on a terror watch list [aclu.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dave420 (699308)
      In the UK everyone has access to any footage anyone records of them on CCTV, whether the person recording is a private company, or the government. It's not exactly one-sided.
      • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @07:22PM (#25860697)

        In the UK everyone has access to any footage anyone records of them on CCTV, whether the person recording is a private company, or the government. It's not exactly one-sided.

        You missed a few bits out:

        1. They're not obliged to reply to your request immediately - and they're not obliged to pause their normal operations between the day your letter demanding information arrives and the day it's replied to.

        So if it takes 30 days for your letter to hit the top of the pile and tapes are recycled after 28 days, there's nothing to give you.

        2. There are plenty of examples of all the CCTV cameras in an area being mysteriously "out of service" in areas where something politically sensitive is going on.

        3. The law is very badly enforced. I know of no widely publicised case where an organisation has been punished for not properly honouring a request for information - yet I can't believe this hasn't happened yet. Hell, it's happened to me.

    • by Kingrames (858416)
      What will happen is that only the parts of the video that favor the police will end up in court.
    • I say this is a good thing, but we shouldn't stop there. I'd say everyone's car should have [hidden] video cameras...

      We are slowly, but surely, building a time machine. These cop cams, combined with the various company, govt, and cellphone cams, will eventually create a video log of just about evrything.

      Soon, you'll be able to pull up a searchable website, input a date/time and address, and see what was happening. Or follow a car around for a while.
      A crime was committed? No problem. Follow the car back
    • by peektwice (726616)
      Sounds to me like one of those "If you have nothing to hide, then what are you worried about?" arguments. I've never fallen for that load of crap either, and I'm not falling for the "Total surveillance can be a good thing." argument either. Get a grip man, put your tin foil hat back on.
    • Your assursion is that since people can be video taped in public, that they should be video taped in public for reasons that you just stated. But, I have a problem with that given that video is NOT unbiased as you say. It can be doctored and cut to make things look the way they are not. Have you seen "reality" TV? Not to mention that this system can and will be abused i.e. blackmail. You might say something along the lines that I shouldn't be talking about private things in public. But, why should I h

  • by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:24PM (#25858119) Journal
    ... how soon before the ISPs currently serving the community sue?
    • by AmberBlackCat (829689) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:49PM (#25858289)
      They'll just have to offer upload and/or download speed that is faster than the free service and some people will be willing to pay the price for the higher speed... if the company actually delivers the speed they paid for...
      • by couchslug (175151)

        "They'll just have to offer upload and/or download speed that is faster than the free service and some people will be willing to pay the price for the higher speed... if the company actually delivers the speed they paid for..."

        Or offer more services, such as email, good usenet access, etc.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Not really. think about it. how many people just need wifi speeds for most of their browsing? this isn't to replace a slashdotters fiber connection, This is to give you wifi while getting sun in the park.

        • That's basically what the GP was saying, that ISPs will just have to market to the /.ers wanting a fiber connection.
        • by Ironsides (739422)
          How many millions of people play WoW and other MMOs? Then there are the FPSs and RTSs. Seriously, there are enough gamers out there that need something better than WiFi that the ISPs aren't going anywhere. Even HALO would suck on a WiFi simply due to lag congestion if you had too many people around you.
      • You mean compete ? You must be new here. Welcome to North America :)

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Not to mention the "free" service will probably have all kinds of filters put on it to keep the evil pr0n out, not to mention it will be monitored up the ass in case anybody there likes to look at the kiddy pr0n. Thanks but no thanks. We here in America have too many nuts that are hung up on the idea of a child actually seeing a vagina for this not to be filtered all to hell. And let us not forget we are talking about Oklahoma, which IIRC is right smack dab in the middle of the bible belt. Yep, enjoy your f
    • Oh they will surely FUD the whole thing

      "Citizens will DDoS the whole network! Criminals will know about stuff before the cops do! Everyone should use the Verizon/Sprint/AT&T 3G network as its more secure!"

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Criminals will know about stuff before the cops do!

        They already do ... after all, they're the ones committing the crimes ;-)

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:30PM (#25858165)

    Free wifi + real time video + VOIP = bandwidth issues and maybe even AP over load.

    also mesh network may make things even slower and traffic may have to use a few links to get a hard wired network link.

    What if you have 80% to 100% homes on a block useing this?

    What if 4-5 cops cars are in the same area?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Qos addresses most of those issues, The problem IMO is that most wireless technologies are easy to jam. WPA for example is easy as hell to jam, a felon with a laptop with a laptop and aircrack can just kick all local users (including the cops) off the router. OTOH as long as this is in addition to their standard communication methods i don't see this as a problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I would strongly suspect(though I've been guilty of optimism before) that the cop-cams, whatever the precise implementation details are, have at least a few minutes of local buffer. Even aside from the risk of deliberate jamming, getting wifi to work 100% of the time is nontrivial.
      • by Ironsides (739422)
        Net Neutrality may eliminate QoS implementations (wouldn't that be ironic).

        But as to jaming, you're being overly optimistic. Any WiFi can be jammed, regardless of the encryption used. All one needs is to put out enough RF noise in the WiFi band and it's toast. Some basic electronics knowledge is all it would take to build an RF jammer.
        • Net Neutrality may eliminate QoS implementations (wouldn't that be ironic).

          Well there's a huge difference between Net Neutrality and QoS :
          - QoS make sure that during usage spikes the critical real-time protocols get enough bandwidth and not too much delay to be still usable in real time. HTTP will be deprioritized behind interactive SSH and VoIP. Outside spike you get everything for your Bittorrent and HTTP, during a spike the access point may from time to time put delays between your BT or HTTP packets so that your phone is still near enough to realtime to be usable instead of be

          • by Ironsides (739422)
            On the net neutrality half, the way the law is written and the way you would perceive the law to be written are generally two very different things. It is conceivable that a net neutrality law would be written in such a way that it prevents QoS by using something like the phrase "no prioritization of packets is allowed". QoS involves the prioritization of some packets over another. Sorry, but screwy things happen when laws get written.

            In physical implementation, there is no difference between QoS and n
            • by BlueStrat (756137)

              As to the Microwave Oven, well, the problem is that microwaves transmit on one specific frequency, not the entire band. With 802.11, you have three non-overlaping frequencies (1,6,11) and so there is no way the microwave can take out them all. This is presuming that the microwave is even in the ch 1-11 frequency block and not outside of it by 100khz or so. All of 802.11 only uses up 83khz.

              Just because the jammer is not on the exact frequency does not mean it won't work. A strong signal somewhere near the op

              • by BlueStrat (756137)

                Oops, sorry to reply to my own post. Technical error.

                made from a microwave ovens' klystron

                Should be 'magnetron', not klystron. Old avionics/RADAR techs' speech term habits and vernaculars die hard, apparently. :P

                • by Ironsides (739422)
                  What you're talking about isn't jamming then, but what amounts to an EMP to the circuits. They are two different things. What you describe would likely destroy the equipment or require it to be repaired. Also, it would require the microwave to be pointed more or less directly at the receiver. A jammer would only need to be in the general area. It also would have a much lower chance of causing the operator harm.
                  • by BlueStrat (756137)

                    What you're talking about isn't jamming then, but what amounts to an EMP to the circuits. They are two different things. What you describe would likely destroy the equipment or require it to be repaired. Also, it would require the microwave to be pointed more or less directly at the receiver. A jammer would only need to be in the general area. It also would have a much lower chance of causing the operator harm.

                    It's not destructive unless the receiver front-end is very poorly designed *and* you're transmitti

          • Some basic electronics knowledge is all it would take to build an RF jammer.

            Or a cheap not very-well shielded Micro-oven~

            Or a nintendo DS with a copy of "Castlevanie: Order of Ecclesia" (I shit you not... I go into "Shop mode" and my laptops wireless connection dies instantly...)

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "WPA for example is easy as hell to jam, a felon with a laptop with a laptop and aircrack can just kick all local users (including the cops) off the router."

        And that would accomplish what, exactly? Cops can't check your record for a few minutes and a nice long jail sentence for "hacking" when they discover what 15 yr old script kiddie did it? Computer hackers don't fair so well in federal prison.
      • by detritus. (46421)

        From what I understand, the equipment all runs on 4.9ghz, which has been allocated specifically for law enforcement. Even if it uses 802.11, one would still have to acquire equipment that uses that specific band.

    • As a touring musician I've seen a few cities with free wifi, Saskatoon for example. I've never encountered one that had any reasonable bandwidth except very late at night (early morning). Can't even load Gmail much less send something or even save a draft.

      What it does do is persuade businesses to not provide wifi hotspots, which is really silly. A lot of people get wifi devices because of the free wifi coverage, then get frustrated by the poor bandwidth. The number of wifi devices in the streets should

  • Security thinking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MarkusQ (450076) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:34PM (#25858191) Journal

    Ok, security-thinking time...

    Hmmm. If this were done someplace that was worth the effort (no idea what that city is like) it could potentially be a great way to keep track of where the cops were and maybe even what they were up to.

    --MarkusQ

    • Compromising your local router would provide an easy way to give you those extra seconds to flush your stash, but then again having somebody looking out of the window probably has the same effect.

    • Not very difficult. Keep an eye on the station and when you see a lot of patrol cars parked you know its near a shift change.

    • I think the problem with this system is the same problem with the non-live video cameras installed in police cars. The police have complete control of the video. So they can just delete it if it shows something they don't want, but the suspect doesn't get to do that.

      I remember seeing a news story recently of a police brutality case. As usual, the cop who did it had erased his own car's tape. Unfortunately, another cop was on the scene and failed to erase his car's video. So the offending cop got fired.

      • by Sanat (702)

        To augment your position... not only do the police have jurisdiction over the video feeds from the police cars, but they may have total jurisdiction over the entire town thus could snoop for that which they might disagree... whether child porn or something of a lesser notion.

        I would be very wary of having my browsing habits monitored by the police. I like the idea of separation between my ISP and the police even though I am a law abiding citizen. It is just too easy to copy a log file from one place to ano

    • by afxgrin (208686) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:04PM (#25858379)

      Dude, you can have a real-time police radar like in GTA4.

      Each car is constantly transmitting ... a proximity detector should be rather easy to implement just based on signal strength alone.

      Depending what frequency they're using, you can possibly use two antennas to triangulate a guess as to where the police car is relative to you.

      The pain in the ass comes in when you start dealing with reflected signals in urban areas.

      • The pain in the ass comes in when you start dealing with reflected signals in urban areas.

        What part of Ponca City, OK [poncacity.com] don't you understand?

        • by afxgrin (208686)

          heh I didn't even bother taking into consideration the city. I was talking in general terms, if police elsewhere are going to do this.

    • Don't worry, they'll change the WEP password at least once a month.

      But seriously, how big a leap would that be compared to monitoring police radio? IMO not enough to outweigh the potential benefits.

      Another question is will the recordings be public domain, or semi-public? For example I wanted a recording of a call I placed to the police switchboard (not 911) when an ex-landlord was trying to force his way into my apartment illegally. They charge $35 to search for the call, and another $80 to make a copy.

  • And by "free" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:38PM (#25858223)

    They mean paid for by their own tax dollars.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, like the streets. Streets are paid for by tax money because even someone who never leaves the basement profits from them (pizza delivery). Don't you think data connectivity is also basic infrastructure that should just be available to everyone?

  • by trinity93 (215227) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:39PM (#25858231) Homepage

    I live south of Ponca City in Stillwater, OK. I can tell you that what ever mom and pop isp is in the area is probably gonna run the whole thing for them. There isn't a strong presence in the area by any large isps. It should also be noted that Ponca City is mostly Oil Refineries (Connaco / Philips ) and the area around there is sparsely populated. Were talking farmland and grazing grassland prairie. Most of the people around here do not have Internet access other than dial up. I pay a hefty fee to get 1 mb point to point 802.11 from a tower 3 miles away.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Toll_Free (1295136)

      I worked for Conoco / DuPont / CSC / QSR back when we did the Y2K.

      You aren't kidding, there is NOTHING there.

      Conoco has the fastest link, a microwave link, that goes all the way to corporate headquarters in Houston.

      Funny thing, Conoco used to proxy EVERYTHING corporate-wide VIA A T1. I mean, where talking THOUSANDS of desktops using a single T for internet usage.

      tnproxy.dupont.com (telnet, used for IRC lol)
      webproxy.dupont.com
      ftproxy.dupont.com

      Of course, those are / where internal addies, so they don't work

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sar (398)

      I'm from Ponca, and tried several different areas to pick up the wifi. I got decent (3 bars) in most of the places, but at one house on the same corner as an AP I couldn't even pick up signal that one was there. When I did get a decent signal, I had pretty terrible bandwidth.

  • Hacked in (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:57PM (#25858325)
    ...and all I've seen for hours is a static shot of Dennys.
  • I'd be a little nervous using WiFi on a municipal network essentially built for the police. Is it encrypted? Anonymous? What are the privacy guarantees? If you surf to alqaedabarelylegalshootthepresidentfreecrackz.com ("I was just curious") will the po po (as the kids say) make a courtesy call?
  • TFA describes video for traffic *stops*. Real-time video for traffic stops hardly seems to be a benefit beyond the recoded video we have seen for 20 years.

    While driving, the Wifi client spends so much time and effort perform hand-off to the next of 500 access points, the packet loss is tremendous.

    Most regions with Wifi mesh networks are turning them down or vastly scaling back expectations. Because Wifi was *never designed for active mobility*.

    The sad part is when these Wifi abominations displace simp

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 1729 (581437)

      TFA describes video for traffic *stops*. Real-time video for traffic stops hardly seems to be a benefit beyond the recoded video we have seen for 20 years.

      It allows the dispatcher to see trouble in real-time and to send backup. An officer involved in a sudden struggle may not have a chance to radio in for backup, so this could be a lifesaver.

  • he would be glued to his monitor....

    Goes back to poking sore tooth
  • I lived in Ponca City for a short time.

    Worked at the Conoco Refinery in IT, during the Y2K upgrade when it was owned by DuPont.

    All I can say is: Where the and what the FUCK are they doing to get the money for this? Ponca is a city of (literally) a couple bars, a refinery (that was built around 3 seperate refineries), and that's about it.

    Kicker, of speaker fame, is located about 45 minutes away, and they have a college nearby.

    Baby Does (strip club / whorehouse) was about the biggest industry outside of the

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "Baby Does (strip club / whorehouse) was about the biggest industry outside of the refinery."

      Here's a picture of Baby Does [mistydreamz.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Couple nice pieces of tail there.

  • The second phase of the project will expand the network and wireless coverage to more than 430 square miles surrounding the city with an estimated annual cost savings of over $1 million for city residents, who can discontinue their existing internet service.

    I'm sorry, but the idea of putting the government in charge of my communications channels is truly frightening. Once your government becomes your ISP, it becomes that much easier to sneak in all sorts of nasty acceptable use, content filtering, and traff

  • So our gilded cages with literal police microphones in the bushes now include free wi-fi? Can I get cappuccino with that? I mean who cares none of us were using our freedom, any ways? Right?

    Dumbasses! A cage isn't better just because it's gilded...

    "To be like âoea bird in a gilded cageâ is to live in luxury but without freedom.."

    http://www.bartleby.com/59/4/gildedcage.html [bartleby.com]

    Every time another cop camera goes up you make a founding father rotate at high velocity in their grave.

  • All of these videos should be stored for at least several years, and probably archived for the remaining career of each of the cops in the car. Cops should switch from filling out forms and testifying "on their word", to just voice annotating the video once the get back to their base. Then submit the video as evidence, rather than take the day off from patrolling to testify in court.

    Fewer cop testimonies will be challenged. Fewer cops will do wrong on duty. The judicial process will be streamlined, whether

    • The camera won't catch everything. What if the cop leaves his car to go inside an apartment on a drug bust, or something? At best you'll see videos attached to each police report.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Cameras on the cop's person, WiFi'ed to their car. The benefits of that are clear, especially to multiple cops with HUDs who can see thru each other's "eyes" with positioning, with a live operator back at the base to send backup.

        But in the car is a great start. Personal cameras are just a tweak from there.

        • True. Would suck if someone enterprising hacked their wifi signal, though, and used it to stage an ambush.
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            If cops can't secure their WiFi, no one can. These people carry guns, and often use them, and are charged with the most widespread security of all. There's no reason they can't have a HW crypto key in their WiFi camera that matches the one in their car. As for tracking their mobile signal itself, they already have radios and cellphones, and that doesn't seem to get them ambushed, though the crooks have had decades to figure that out.

  • Not the first system (Score:3, Informative)

    by David F. (15140) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @02:15PM (#25858815)

    Motorola makes a product that streams video back from first responder vehicles over mesh networks that has been available for a couple years now. One of the customers is the LAPD.

    http://www.motorola.com/business/US-EN/Mobile+Video+Sharing_US-EN.do?vgnextoid=c5dc23805ae46110VgnVCM1000008406b00aRCRD [motorola.com]

  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @03:11PM (#25859239)
    I still think the cops will have the ability to turn off the camera. One of my first jobs out of high school ('89) was in a company that made, among other things, circuit boards for cop-car cameras. If the lights were on, the camera was rolling. I'd been there a week when we had to change the product, because all of the police departments requested a kill switch for the camera. The first thing that popped out of my mouth was "why would they want to turn off the camera?" That little question was the cornerstone from which my entire political worldview was built, and I've yet to see a reason to change it. Cops want the power and freedom to be able to deal with suspects without leaving any evidence. It's not that I don't trust cops, but that I don't trust people with power. When those people take active steps to keep their exercise of power, their methods, secret, that sends up a whole bucket of red flags.
    • by DutchSter (150891) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @08:06PM (#25860961)

      "why would they want to turn off the camera?"

      There are lots of good reasons. What do you do when you're called to a traffic accident on the freeway and your car is blocking traffic for six hours with the lights on? Multiply that by the three or four cars that respond and note that our system records both the forward view out the windshield and the in-car (facing backseat) camera, that's a lot of footage of nothing. Yes, "storage is cheap" but when you consider an indefinite retention period and a discoverable chain of custody, it's very expensive relative to the budget of the average department.

      I like the system in the cars my department has. It starts recording when you hit RECORD or active the overheads. When it starts recording, it automatically saves the 60 seconds immediately prior to the activation event. When you turn the lights off or hit STOP, it will keep recording for 45 seconds and then really stop. Thus for each activation event you're going to get a minimum of 1:45 recorded, including a full minute before you hit the lights. This look back feature really helps to put recordings in their proper context.

      While you certainly can stop recording at any time, it's going to look really bad if you've always recorded your stops to completion and then a nasty allegation is made against you at the same event where you hit STOP right in the middle of the contact.

      Incidentally our systems are tape-free. Each car has a WiFi antenna and it will automatically upload any new files when the car drives into one of several zones in the city. For example, there's a WiFi zone at the service garage pumps and in the station lot. However, the cameras also pipe a feed to the MDT which is connected to the network through a Verizon Air Card. Even though it's not streaming video, dispatch does have the ability to pull up real-time video from any car. It works well for our purposes, and probably a lot cheaper than the solution this town is looking at.

  • by Phizzle (1109923) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:32PM (#25860407) Homepage
    Depending on where you live, I highly recommend going on a ride-along with your local Police Department. Some of the cities in Silicon Valley have Police Departments equipped with some amazing tech. From on the fly license plate scanning of all vehicles around you and bouncing those plates off the various alert lists, to their real-time map of all police, ambulance and fire trucks in the area that show them converging on accidents or violators. BTW, license plate scans are stored by time and gps location and can be used at a later time to locate people of interest... The car I was in also had video (pretty darn good quality) being recorded and accessable tby the PD "overseer" at any time. BTW, it gets even more interesting on their helicopters (didnt get to go but a friend works as a pilot for CHP). They got super high res, high end cams that automatically track people (touch screen - just touch the perps car and the camera and if necessary the spot light will stay on them), same deal as far as character recognizing the plates from way up high and storing time, gps, and pics of them for "other uses". Anectodally, the newest generation of plate recognition is completely nonplussed by the various covers or spray-on reflective crap - they get your info no matter what. Pretty cool stuff from tech point of view, and pretty creepy from the civil rights side.
  • Just can't help but wonder if these so called "live video" feed can be used in defense of bogus arrests. Somehow I think they would claim "technical difficulties" when these feeds are "lost".

  • Here's what's probably going to go through the mind of some of the citizens there:

    Hey, why can you watch me all the time? That isn't right. It doesn't matter that I'm on public property. There is ethic to... Oooo, free internet!

  • Are they going to give citizens access to the same infrastructure that they are using to pass around video data from the cars and other cameras around the city? What could possibly go wrong there?
  • OK, so if some cop gets all power crazy and violent now the whole power structure is at fault. Think about it this way: if a cop supervisor can know about cop brutality going on and does not stop it then the whole department is at MORE fault, not less.

    When this system exists in your locality be sure to FOIA every tape of every traffic stop and consider suing for EVERY SINGLE abuse of power. If they lose enough lawsuits then insurance companies will shut them down.

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