The New York Police Department is reported to be testing Google Glass in order to realize the potential of using wearable computers in the role of law enforcement. The department is understood to be interested in using Glass primarily because of its built-in camera which could be used to record live video of incidents or to gather evidence for cases.
They are also interested in a new app that entered beta testing for Google Glass earlier this week. Called NameTag, it can photograph a person and then attempt to automatically identify them by scouring photos on popular social networks and attempting to find a match for the suspect. If Glass was adopted by the police then they would likely set up a similar app allowing officers to search databases for known offenders whilst still on the beat.
Google confirmed that they are not working with the New York City law enforcement team and that the NYPD just registered itself on the beta testing program for the product, called Glass Explorer, at a cost of $1,500 per customer. An official from the NYPD said in a statement given to the news website VentureBeat: "We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and were trying them out, seeing if they have any values in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes. Were looking at them, you know, seeing how they work."
Widespread adoption of Glass by police forces would be a costly process, however, with the NYPD alone employing 34,500 staff and whereas it is unlikely that we will be seeing bobbies on the street wearing the headsets any time soon, who knows what the future holds for Glass and law enforcement?