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Boston Police cruiser (flickr)
Contract negotiations between the Boston Police union and the city has resulted in an interesting development: The pending use of GPS tracking devices on police vehicles. The decision has sparked a heated debate, with officers worrying that the move will inhibit their ability to police the streets and supervisors arguing that it will improve safety and response times, according to the Boston Globe.

Proponents of the system have argued that its implementation will lead to a reduction in crime, as well as improvements in police officer safety. Using the system would mean that the police could respond to crimes much more quickly, since dispatchers wouldn't have to wait for troopers to radio in with location details. And if a trooper found themselves in a dangerous situation, they say, the GPS devices would make it much easier for supporting officers to pinpoint their location, resulting in a faster and more effective response from supporting officers.

Detractors have maintained, however, that using the GPS devices will negatively impact the officers' ability to do their day-to-day jobs of policing the city's streets.

"No one likes it. Who wants to be followed all over the place?" an anonymous officer told the Boston Globe. "If I take my cruiser and I meet [reluctant witnesses] to talk, eventually they can follow me and say why were you in a back dark street for 45 minutes? It's going to open up a can of worms that can't be closed."

Another issue raised by opponents is that of hacking. Officers have voiced concern regarding tech-savvy individuals manipulating the system to find out where the cops are located before committing crimes.

Civil liberties proponents are already having a field day with the development, according to Ars Technica.

"The irony of police objecting to GPS technology for privacy reasons is hard to miss in the aftermath of United States v. Jones," said Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. United Staes vs. Jones was a Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled it unconstitutional for police to place GPS tracking devices on cars without obtaining a warrant.

The GPS devices still need city council approval in Boston, but it appears we may be getting closer to an answer for that that age-old question: Who watches the watchers?

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      now we keep track ,on how they sit in the coffe shop or the keno store
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think A GPS should installed in every police car, In all 50 states. It helps locate a car in case they get in trouble. It will also detour cops from using there patrol cars for personal use, I see this everyday - going shopping, to the gym, picking up and taking there kids to school, ETC.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think this is a great idea for the general public as well as the police officers. That way it protects everyone involved especially here lately and some of the police would think twice before being as dishonest. It could be used to prove if they are where they are supposed to be during there shift as well.
      • 1 Year Ago
      You don't need gps just maps with the donut shops marked
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the opinion of the policemen on the street is all that matters.If they aren;t trusted on how they do their job,tell them to go to hell and get you a job somewhere else.If these know it alls have to protected their own ass,maybe they will change their mind
      • 1 Year Ago
      Officers have voiced concern regarding tech-savvy individuals manipulating the system to find out where the cops are located before committing crimes. Went to this Blog just to read this article, great piece of writing right there. Very informative. www.oligera.com
      • 1 Year Ago
      Uh Mr. Bob .. We are allowed by city contract to use our cars for personal use. That answers your question why you see it everyday. Next time you see a cop instead of complaining, thank him for keeping you safe.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope to see this idea used everywhere within ten years.