NEW YORK — To the untrained eye, it looks like almost any other New York Police Department cruiser combing the city's streets — but this squad car has just as much brains as it does brawn.
It is the department's prototype "smart car," outfitted with the latest gadgets in public safety. It has two infrared monitors mounted on the trunk that record any numbers it sees — such as license plates and addresses. It has surveillance cameras and air sensors capable of sending real-time information to police headquarters. The NYPD says it is the cruiser of the very near future. The smart car is one of dozens of projects included in a long-term strategic plan known as NYPD2020, prepared in November for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
The 13-page report describes initiatives ranging from the high-tech (500 officers have received Samsung Rugby smartphones equipped to deliver real-time crime data) to the bureaucratic (new guidelines for recruiting and keeping qualified candidates). More than a dozen are already under way.