Wireless info system for cops may go citywide


Special to amNewYork

NEW YORK — A $500 million high-tech information system for police and firefighters being tested in lower Manhattan could go citywide by the summer, officials said Monday.

The system enables officers to pull mug shots at crime scenes and gives firefighters building blueprints as they race to a blaze.

Being tested since January 2007, the New York City Wireless Network could be expanded as early as April, officials said at a City Council hearing Monday.

"I think we all agree that our first responders do a good job in keeping us safe," said Councilman Miguel Martinez, D-Manhattan, chairman of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services. "I think the technology, implemented properly, will save lives and enhance the way our first responders go to a fire."

While some information already can be retrieved from officers' laptop computers, the new system would increase speed as much as 100-fold, said NYPD Chief Thomas Gangone.

The Bloomberg administration contracted Northrop Grumman, a national global defense and technology company, to build and maintain the system over the next five years. The Department of Homeland Security recently kicked in $20 million toward the program.

In addition to providing emergency responders with quick information, NYCWiN can also track individual squad cars and fire trucks. There also are plans to install tracking devices in school buses, as well as institute an automated water meter reading system for the Department of Environmental Protection.

While some information already can be retrieved from officers' laptop computers, the new system would increase speed by up to 100 fold.

"When complete, this system will … enhance coordination and ensure that critical information reaches out mobile workforce, to the benefit of all city agencies and the people they serve," said Paul Cosgrave, commissioner of the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications

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