Memphis Mayor Wharton wants GPS trackers, cameras in police cars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis mayor wants GPS trackers, cameras in police cars

(WMC-TV) – Memphis Mayor A C Wharton wants GPS trackers and cameras in every police squad car. It's part of a plan to streamline the department to offset the budget crunch.

Mayor Wharton said, "You're cutting money, but you're not taking officers off the street."

He says technology can make fighting crime more efficient. Memphis is one of the few cities without Global Positioning System units to track each patrol car.

"GPS helps us locate the car so the dispatch time is reduced. You know exactly where they are," the mayor explained.

Currently, dispatchers have to poll officers to see who's nearest to the location of a crime. Memphis is also one of few police departments without dash cameras.

The mayor says cameras in the squad cars would protect taxpayer money.

He said, "Not only do they protect the officer, but they protect us from a lot of false claims. You'd be surprised at the judgments we pay off."

The mayor says the use of technology, coupled with the plan to use civilians for non-police duties, will streamline the department without hurting services.

The city is now ironing out which positions will be converted to civilian police service technicians.

Mayor Wharton said, "Those are questions we're working through with Director Armstrong."

The Memphis City Council passed a 2009 resolution to buy cameras and GPS units using income from red light cameras. However, the resolution lacked clarity on how the money would be distributed.

Last March, the council pledged to use half the revenues from red light cameras for the technology.

With the city now facing financial challenges, it's unclear if the money is there to pay for it.

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