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NYPD blues

July 17, 2009


Some time in the mid-to-late Nineties, the personal computer supplanted the typewriter as the Western world’s main method of word processing. With the arrival of the Internet in most peoples’ homes at around the same time, we began to realize that we could not only create documents more efficiently (spellcheck: a dyslexic nerd’s wet dream), but we could send our thoughts and words to anyone, anywhere in the world. Thus, Three Point One Four and millions of other blowhard blogs were born. But I digress. Most corporations and organizations realized the power of the PC, and switched over. Now that it’s midway through 2009, it seems not only shocking, but somewhat irresponsible to hear that the NYPD recently placed a million-dollar order for new typewriters (most popular new tech of the 1870s, mind you) for all its precincts. Arrest reports are all more or less computerized now, but internal memos and reports are still mainly done on carbon-copy paper. I can’t imagine how expensive these typewriters must be (there’s not too many places that make them anymore), but still, this must be a ton of typewriters for the bill to have been a million U.S. Dollars. There are cops and criminologists who believe that the outdated equipment makes it less likely for minor offense arrests to be made. The NYPD admits that they’re working on ‘software’ that will soon allow for all reports to be computerized. I wonder if the software they’re working on will like like those 80s pre-GUI computer interfaces, and by the time the rest of the world’s cops are using interfaces like in Minority Report, the NYPD will be installing Windows 95.

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