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TX City Looks to Tech to Mitigate Police Shortage

Houston Police Unit
Houston Police Unit | Image by Houston Police/Twitter

Dallas is not the only big Texas city suffering from a serious police officer shortage, with Houston looking to fill the gap by deploying new technologies.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, police response times in Dallas have been overshooting department goals amid a shortage of roughly 1,000 officers. Budgeting only $654 million of taxpayer money for DPD this fiscal year, Dallas City officials have opted to spend considerably less on public safety than other high-crime cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Both Houston and Dallas have looked to technology to mitigate their officer shortages. According to a report by Houston Public Media:

“Houston Mayor John Whitmire announced last week that he wants to end the city’s contract with ShotSpotter, the controversial audio surveillance system that detects shots fired and informs police.

“Acting Houston Police Department Chief Larry Satterwhite recently said with staffing shortages, the department is leaning more heavily on Flock Safety cameras, a license plate scanning camera program that tracks license plates on vehicles and notifies police of passed links to crimes.

“On Tuesday’s Houston Matters, University of Houston Clear Lake professor and Teens and Police Services Academy founder Dr. Everette Penn said HPD, along with other departments, are in a tough spot and must rely on such technologies to help with policing.

“‘They’re in a tough spot with the lack of personnel that are officers that are able to fight crime every single day, so therefore innovation is necessary,’ Penn said. ‘And when that innovation comes to a point of question, you look at technology.’

“Penn added that effective policing to reduce crime would involve having the presence of officers on the street.”

To read the entire article by Houston Public Media, please click HERE.

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