Google Glass may be the future of law enforcement

Kelsi Thorud Contributor
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Google Glass may soon become the tool of choice for police departments across the U.S.

Several departments are testing the capabilities of Google’s new product to see how effective and useful it can be in law enforcement procedure.

New York City Police Department confirmed to USA Today on Tuesday that the department is already using the smart glasses.

“We’re in the process of field-testing that technology in a variety of circumstances, seeing where — if useful — where it might be most useful, most beneficial,” said NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The NYPD acquired two pairs of the smart glasses in December 2013. Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis told USA Today that the department frequently looks to new technology for potential policing tools.

Google does not actively recruit law enforcement agencies to test Google Glass. Currently, the only way to obtain the glasses is by applying to the Glass Explorer Program online.

The company said they approve anyone to buy the glasses for a price of $1,500 if they are U.S. residents and above the age of 18.

“The Glass Explorer program includes people from all walks of life, including doctors, firefighters and parents,” wrote Google in a statement to USA Today.

The Los Angeles Police Department has also applied to buy the glasses for testing purposes.

“We are looking to see how it could work and that doesn’t mean it will be used for patrol,” said Sgt. Dan Gomez, who supervises the Tactical Technology Section of the LAPD, according to USA Today. “It could be used for other purposes but it’s hard to say what we would do without having it.”

In Georgia, police sergeant Eric Farris of the Byron Police Department said he has tested Google Glass and thinks that it could be a useful tool in solving investigations.

The Byron PD collaborated with CopTrax, a surveillance retailer, to give officers Google Glass during traffic patrol, citation issuing, arrests and firearm practicing.

“They had CopTrax software loaded into the Google Glass and everything recorded with Glass was then recorded back to our camera system and police cruisers,” said Farris, according to USA Today.

With this new technology comes new possibility and to many people that can leave a feeling of uncertainty.

“Google Glass could protect the police and protect the citizens from abusive police practices,” Jay Stanley, a privacy expert and senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, told USA Today. “I’m not sure if people would like police to be able to go around and do facial recognition and stick labels and risk scores on them.”