As the legal battles between early Google Glass adopters and the law enforcement officials who can't stand the Glassholes heat up, the country's largest municipal police force is warming to the new tech.
VentureBeat is reporting that the New York Police Department is running their own little beta test program for Google Glass, equipping a handful of their officers with Google's much-hyped spectacles.
“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,” said a police source, who VentureBeat describes as a ranking NYC law enforcement official.
“We think it could help impact patrol operations in New York City. We shall see."
Apparently, this isn't some sort of partnership between Google and the NYPD. The Glass-strapped officers simply acquired their nerd specs the same way everyone else has so far - through the Google Glass explorer program.
Google made a point to mention that their Glass explorers come from all walks of life. So a few cops got their hands on Google Glass, and here we are.
If all of this police wearing cameras thing sounds a bit familiar, that's because some New York City cops are already being forced to wear cameras on them at all times. As a edict stemming from a recent ruling that called the city's "stop-and-frisk" policy unconstitutional, a judge ordered a one-year pilot program wherein some patrol units would wear video cameras on their person at all time. The program is set to be reevaluated after the year is up to determine whether or not it should be expanded.
I guess Google Glass is a bit sleeker than some dorky body camera.
Like I said before, Google Glass is currently walking a fine line in some states (including New York), where legislators are already putting the gears in motion to ban the technology inside motor vehicles. A California woman recently made headlines when she was given the country's first "driving while Google Glassing" ticket - a charge which she later fought in court and emerged victorious.
Expect some fierce debate about this development. On one hand, Google Glass could help to monitor police activity - maybe resulting in more accountability. Then again, it's just another person recording your every move - something likely to set the surveillance state activists on edge (and this time, it's a cop doing the street-level monitoring). I mean, dashcams are one thing, but this is a whole new animal. All we can say right now is that this sure is interesting.
Image via Google