Technology and Social Media
Advances in technology have made the San Mateo Police Department more capable, more efficient, and more accountable to our citizens. There is no substitute for in-person connection with our community and proactive police work, but technology helps make policing more efficient and effective. Our community’s privacy is important to us, and each of the advances described in this section is being implemented and explored with your privacy in mind.
Automated License Plate Readers
The San Mateo Police Department has patrol vehicles and mobile trailers equipped with automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to better safeguard our community, helping to not only locate stolen vehicles and missing persons, but also wanted violent felons. This department is also deploying parking enforcement vehicles equipped with ALPR technology. These vehicles collect similar license plate data to our patrol vehicles and use the technology to assist in enforcement. ALPR devices have also proven time and again to identify crime trends and provide precise, investigation-specific information to help solve crime.
A more complete discussion on ALPRs, including our policy, visit our automated license plate reader webpage.
In 2017, San Mateo Police Department equipped every sworn police officer with a Body Worn Camera (BWC). Officers are required to wear their assigned BWC and are expected to activate them on all enforcement activities, and when speaking with members of the public who are related as reporting parties, witnesses, or victims in the situations being investigated.
BWC are a tremendous evidence collection tool, provide accountability to all persons being captured on video, and offer an increased level of transparency to our community.
A more complete discussion on San Mateo Police Department’s use of BWC, including our policy and frequently asked questions, is available on our body worn cameras webpage.
Mobile Technology for Officers
Mobile phones issued to every police officer provide multipurpose devices to digitally collect photographs, videos, and audio recordings that are all managed digitally through cloud storage. Electronic ticket writers print out copies of citations for the public and electronically transfer the data to the courts. Select officers carry Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) for medical emergencies, electronic drug recognition tools to minimize exposure to dangerous street drugs, and infrared technology for safer night-time suspect and mountain lion searches.
Computer forensic tools help San Mateo Police detectives keep up with suspects as technology changes. Criminals used to hide paper notebooks, transportation routes, and other evidence in pockets, bags, and backpacks. Most of this is now stored on mobile devices.
Shared Information Keeps Officers Aware and Makes the Whole Peninsula Safer
Software has been deployed countywide to create a seamless network of local dispatch and records systems to share information across the county. City limits or boundaries make no difference to criminals as they are known to frequently target multiple jurisdictions in a short period of time. The integrated systems allow officers to share information across our local jurisdictions, making your local officers much more aware and prepared for crime trends and heightened safety situations.
This advanced technology extends to the transfer of police reports to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. Reports, many of their attachments, and now even officers’ body worn camera footage can be electronically relayed to the courts for processing. This process is more environmentally friendly and saves time.
We believe a connected community is a strong and safe community. Those who live, play, and work in the city of San Mateo are our most valued partners. The San Mateo Police Department has evolved to messaging proactively and interactively to over 100,000 subscribers across multiple conventional and social media platforms. In addition to reporting crime activity, the San Mateo Police Department strengthens its social media output with regular safety tips, features on our police officers, recruitment messages for all available positions, and reflections of our robust community engagement strategy.
Learn more about our social media platforms and follow-us to stay connected!