Police acquire new technology to fight crime

Courtesy of Novato Police department

Smartphone apps, drones and body cams are just some of the cool new “toys” the Riverside Police Department is using to do their jobs in a safer and more effective manner.

The technology consists of license plate reader technology, the RPD app as well as body cams and SWAT drones.

Some patrol cars and intersections are now equipped with license plate recognition technology.

These cameras scan license plates of cars that come into their view. If any stolen cars or a suspect’s car license plate is detected, past footage taken of the car can be retrieved if the car was previously in the database. This can be useful in trying to locate a suspect’s whereabouts.

Austin Johnson, senior criminal justice major, said the new license plate readers are a great idea.

“I heard about it in a ride along,” Johnson said. “That’s a really good use of technology to get a suspect or stolen vehicle. Getting alerted right away is a great use of technology.”

Another new piece of technology is the RPD app. It was released last year and can be used for a myriad of tasks, such as sending photo evidence of criminal activity directly to the RPD. Another feature of the app is reporting minor issues or crimes that may not have a suspect, such as vandalism, a lost or stolen phone or graffiti.

The app also provides traffic notifications and allows the public to access all of the RPD’s social media.

Anthony Jimenez, senior criminal justice major, said he feels the app will be a great way to boost community engagement.

“It seems like implementing it might help enforce community policing, which helps to get the community interacting with law enforcement,” Jimenez said.

Officer Ryan Railsback, public affairs officer for RPD, said the app is innovative and that interactive apps are only employed by a few other police departments.

“We are one of a small handful in southern California (that has an interactive app),” Railsback said. “There is a couple up north that have at least (developed an app) with the same vendor. A lot of these apps that we have noticed, don’t have the same features we do where it’s very interactive.”

Within the past year the RPD made it standard for all first-re- sponders to wear body cameras. First-responders must start the camera as soon as they arrive at their call.

All patrol cars utilize cameras, as well. These are always recording but start saving all footage taken after a police car’s lights are turned on. They also save a minute of footage before the lights are turned on, in case something important happens before the offcer put on his or her vehicle’s lights.

Another piece of technology the S.W.A.T. team will be using in the near future is drones. The drones are quiet and perfect for scouting out a building from the air to get information on who is inside.

This list of new technologies will allow the RPD to do its job in a safer and efficent way.

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