During my years
in law enforcement, I would sometimes confront an unknown and potentially
dangerous substance. My only option would be to submit a sample and wait for
the lab analysis. But what if members of the public – or children – had been
exposed to it first? Depending on the substance, by the time the lab report
came back, complications could have set in.
But now a
wireless technology called StreetLabMobile claims to allow law
enforcement to identify most
substances almost instantaneously. I have not tested this product so I can’t
vouch for it. But as a former first responder, I’ll say that the concept of
adapting wireless apps for real-time diagnoses like this can be a major help for
And speaking of
real-time wireless help for law enforcement, if you’re in Franklin , Tennessee
and witness a crime, you now have a safe new option to notify police. Starting
this week, you can text the Franklin Police Department – anonymously. The text
goes through a computer that "wipes away" your phone number but still allows a
dispatcher to text you back. Franklin is the first police department in
Tennessee to handle anonymous text messaging.
In recent years,
texting and police work have become as inseparable as, well, Detective Mackey
and Captain Wyms. According to MSNBC, in 2007, police
departments in Boston and Cincinnati were the first to accept anonymous text
tips. By mid-2008, more than 100 communities had taken similar steps or had
plans to do so.
that the future of communication is texting," Michael Charbonnier, commander of
the Boston Crime Stoppers unit, told MSNBC.