PHILADELPHIA - Toledo police Chief Mike Navarre looked at new items in technology for law enforcement yesterday and he did it cheaply because of the city's tight budget constraints.
He and Deputy Chief Derrick Diggs flew here for the day - in a leased airplane piloted by Lt. Leo Eggert, of the department's aviation unit, and paid for by remaining federal grant money that funded airplane training for the department's helicopter pilots.
They browsed the latest technological advances on display during the weeklong International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. In particular, the chief looked at the latest in digital cameras for police cars. He said the department's current in-car video cameras, which record on VHS tapes, will be replaced in the near future.
Although there were digital cameras on display, for about $4,500 apiece, Chief Navarre was interested in computers that worked multiple functions, including in-car cameras.
“They have computers in cars that serve as radio and communication devices, in-car video cameras, word processors for report writing, that work emergency lights on the car, and run radar for speed enforcement,” he said.
The going price for the demonstration device was about $10,000, the chief said.
He said that type of item would provide officers with more room in patrol cars because it would only be one gadget instead of several. Police cars are cramped because of the amount of equipment in them, he added.
Chief Navarre said the department has grant money available for new in-car cameras. He said he would talk to Lucas County Sheriff James Telb about the multi-functioning computers because of the countywide communication system.
The chief also examined about 10 different patrol models, three different helicopters, a police boat, and communication equipment on exhibit during the annual conference that is being attended by about 15,000 police chiefs, law enforcement personnel, and exhibitors.
He also attended a workshop on homeland security.