As far back as 2009, police departments have been experimenting with head-mounted video cameras in a sort of dashcam-on-body idea. Some ask the question: Now that ideas such as Google Glass are nearing retail, why go with something so bulky? The New York City Police Department apparently agrees, and is trying out Google's smart eyewear, Venture Beat reported on Wednesday.
A high-ranking New York City law enforcement official said:
We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we’re trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes.
We’re looking at them, you know, seeing how they work.
It's probably unlikely that the NYPD is looking at Google Glass strictly as a wearable video camera. In fact, the amount of video that can be taken on the device before the battery gives up the ghost is only 30 - 45 minutes.
It's more likely that the NYPD is investigating how to integrate the Android-powered glasses into their already existing infrastructure, including writing apps specific for their informational databases.
Susan Merritt, the CIO of the San Francisco Police Department, said that although the SFPD has not yet tested the wearable Android devices, applications for law enforcement could be huge.
SFPD adoption would also be another win for Android in the SFPD. The department currently deploys Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones to its street cops. The Galaxy S4 has become an integral tool in the SFPD, Merritt said, as using it, officers can access the department’s criminal database, run warrant checks, and pull up mug shots of suspects, all in real-time.
However, Google Glass is already running afoul of privacy advocates, and when asked about those issues, Merritt said,
This is very interesting. Call us back in six months!
Currently only available to "Explorers," who must apply for the right to pay $1,500 to don the smart eyewear, Google Glass is expected to hit retail late this year. It will be available in a prescription lens form, as well.