Boston Police Object To Plan To Equip Cruisers With GPS Devices

512px-MA_-_Boston_Police_Badge220px-Boston_Police_cruiser_on_Beacon_StreetNot that long ago, police departments joined together to call upon the United States Supreme Court (with the support of the Obama Administration) to allow citizens to be tracked with GPS devices placed on their vehicles without a warrant or probable cause. The litigants argued that this was a minor intrusion into the rights of citizens and that there was no expectation of privacy in such movements. The Court wisely rejected the arguments in United States v. Jones. Now police in Boston are objecting to a plan to place such devices on their patrol cars as an unwarranted intrusion.

GPS devices allow departments to keep precise information on the location of patrol cars and alleviate the need to rely entirely on the radio for officers to confirm their location and ability to respond to calls. The burden and delay in such coordination is an obvious and unnecessary barrier to responding to crime. One officer voiced the few of his colleagues in complaining “No one likes it. Who wants to be followed all over the place?” Hmmm, sounds familiar.

41 thoughts on “Boston Police Object To Plan To Equip Cruisers With GPS Devices”

  1. update on my previous ot
    Fort Worth police apologize for its role in federal survey

    Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News

    Some drivers in North Fort Worth on Friday were stopped at a police roadblock and directed into a parking lot where they were asked by federal contractors for samples of their breath, saliva and even blood. The request was part of a government research study aimed at determining the number of drunken or drug-impaired drivers.

    **UPDATE TO THE VIDEO ABOVE** Fort Worth police initially said they could not immediately find any record of their officers being involved in the roadblock, but on Tuesday police spokesman Sgt. Kelly Peel said that the department’s Traffic Division coordinated with the NHTSA on the use of off-duty officers after the agency asked for help with the survey.

    “We are reviewing the actions of all police personnel involved to ensure that FWPD policies and procedures were followed,” he said. “We apologize if any of our drivers and citizens were offended or inconvenienced by the NHTSA National Roadside Survey.”

  2. Elaine,

    I once bought a fleet car from a dealership. It was a rejected interceptor from a town that administration had changed since the order….. I paid less than 10k on the list price….. So, I’m sure that the state when done right gets better deals than the average consumer….

  3. I’m sure if they are used in the regular course of work to and from a facility…. But, probably not as much… If they didn’t have state vehicles to drive…..

  4. AY,

    Purchasing cars is cheaper than paying mileage? But wouldn’t the communities/states that purchase these vehicles also have to reimburse workers for mileage?

    Regarding insurance: That’s why I never drove my students on field trips.

  5. Raff,

    Unless it’s a undercover operation…. I’m of the opinion that government vehicles should never be used for personal business…. Nor should they be allowed to take them home unless they spend more than a certain percentage of work in the field….. There are cases where Dallas police officers routinely took squad cars home…. If they have that many to spare…. Maybe they have too many on the tax payers dime….

  6. Elaine,

    Unfortunately there are a number of states that have a motor pool for the staff….. It’s cheaper than paying mileage…. Also, what lots of folks don’t realize that your private insurance carrier may not cover accidents that occur when used for official work business…. It gets really messy….

  7. Hard to believe this is just starting in late 2013. How many fleets of private trucks, vans and cars used by business have GPS tracking and have had it for years?

    I think the next step is a surgical forehead cam for each officer that is implanted upon taking the oath, also with GPS.

  8. nick,

    Where do school social workers use government vehicles? I know it doesn’t happen around my neck of the woods. Even social workers who are employed by Massachusetts DCF use their own vehicles when making home visits.

  9. nick,
    if an employee is using the vehicle for business and it is owned or leased by the business, they should not have a problem with the gps units in the car. If they are allowed to use it off the job, then the gps should be turned off during non business hours. Don’t misunderstand me, if the union can negotiate any term of employment they can also negotiate the gps units. Also, if it is good enough for the union rank and file, the supervisors cars should also be monitored in the same way.

  10. The United States Postal Service will soon begin tracking employees with GPS tracking devices. Specifically, the mail carriers will be given smartphones, which can be tracked remotely. Currently, the USPS is using portable scanners to scan certain mailboxes throughout the day. This is how the mail carriers are currently being monitored, but there are big gaps of time in between scans. With the GPS-equipped cell phones, supervisors can monitor the carriers entire route. This way, they can detect if an employee is taking too much time or going off his or her route. The monitoring could also possibly help managers develop more efficient routes.

    …. Orwell was right.

    Things are much different than in 1978 when I started.
    BTW Folks, 35 1/2 years goes by fast, time to retire. This winter will find me looking out the window, sipping my coffee, ….and smiling.
    A warm smile. :o)

  11. lol Rick in Saltlake you beat me to it….. why would they be worried about being tracked if they’re not doing anything wrong? if they are really on their jobs and not laid up at a bf/gf homes..? if they arent out robbing, stealing and abusing?

    The way i see it.. the cops need these gps trackers now considering all the sites that are up about police abuse. what better way to be able to show the people they still are human and not hybrids for the elites

  12. Besides, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. Right?

  13. raff, Just as one example, earlier this year in nearby Lowell, Ma., the city spent 50k for GPS on cop cars and the local union blocked it. In many jurisdictions unions dictate virtually everything in the public sector. Slowly, the citizens who pay those salaries are taking back their government. I am heartened to see your stance on police unions, hopefully that will transfer to ALL intransigent public unions. What about school social workers who use a government vehicle to do home visits?

  14. Bettykath,

    Thank you…. I know right where that crap was going down….


    If I recall correctly sobriety road blocks in Texas are illegal…..

    I thank AP for following up with the other link….. Wow…l

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