By Harriette Halepis
WBZ Boston, Lowell, Massachusetts, January 29, 2010 – The state of Lowell, Massachusetts, recently proposed that all Lowell police cars be fitted with GPS trackers. Other states that have outfitted state-owned vehicles with GPS trackers have managed to increase productivity and emergency response time. However, the Lowell police force is not allowing the installation of GPS trackers without a fight.
Due to planned protests, the annual awards ceremony that is usually held in the Lowell memorial Auditorium had to be cancelled. Those who are a part of the Lowell force feel that the installation of GPS trackers would be a violation of personal rights, though City Manager Bernard Lynch doesn’t quite see the situation in this manner.
Instead, Lynch argues that the city “…wants to make sure that…police officers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing… (WBZ)“ While this may sound paranoid to some, the fact of the matter is that many other states through the nation have found that city employees spend a lot more time tending to non-work related tasks then they do to work related tasks.
Further, tax payers don’t see anything wrong with ensuring that police officers are actually working for that tax money. As one resident put it “it’s tax dollars at work. You see a cruiser sitting on the side of the road, at least back at dispatch, they know where they are (WBZ).” This resident isn’t the only one, many people within the Lowell area wonder whether or not police officers are spending their time wisely.
As for those members of the Lowell police force, a press release that was sent to the Lowell Sun states that “the chief has proclaimed his lack of trust in our members by proposing the GPS system (WBZ).” At this time, no further comments have been made by force representatives. Thus, the proposal has not yet been implemented, though both state officials and city taxpayers would like to see the proposal set into motion.
GPS trackers installed in police cars across the nation would not only ensure that police officers are respecting state time, but they would also ensure that stolen police vehicles are returned in a timely manner. Also, back up crews would likely be able to reach officers in distress faster with the help of a GPS tracker.