LA sheriff's cars get new computer systems tested in Iraq

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Department patrol cars will soon be outfitted with $20 million in battlefield-tested technology.

Beginning this month, one of the nation's major military contractors is outfitting 2,500 cars with computer systems and high-tech gadgetry perfected in Iraq, equipment that will enable deputies to respond to calls faster and get data on suspects instantly.

The Los Angeles Times reports that deputies will be able to run background checks using an FBI database, pull up a suspect's mugshot or even obtain data such as fingerprints on the spot. Such technology was previously reserved for analysts in the sheriff's stations.

That $20 million tab comes at taxpayer expense. Raytheon promises it will reduce the time needed to pull up information from hours or days to seconds, the Times reports. The department's previous computer system was built around 1985.

The new system also includes digital mapping with turn by turn directions, allowing police to respond faster, the Times reports. Their vehicles previously didn't have GPS devices or digital maps.

Equipment-maker Raytheon Co. is also in talks with San Diego, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.

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