10/03/2007

Chicago officers may be tracked by GPS

By Kim Janssen
The Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO Every Chicago Police officer's movements could be electronically tracked by global positioning systems if a program being tested in the Chicago Lawn District wins approval.

The program, which requires officers to wear GPS cell phones while on duty, is intended as an officer-safety measure, bosses say, but also could be used to discipline officers.

A group of 50 patrol, gang and tactical officers based in Chicago Lawn will test the technology, which allows supervisors to plot their locations on a computer screen in real time.

"If there's an officer who's in a chase in an alley in a part of the city he's unfamiliar with, the dispatcher will be able to find his location and alert backup," information services Commander Jonathan Lewin said.

The phones can be used only to call a list of approved numbers. Although many officers carry private phones and since 2005 all cell phones can be used to track their owners the program is the first organized attempt to keep precise, constant tabs on officers' whereabouts. 

Copyright 2007 Chicago Sun-Times

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