911, Hybrid Police Cars, Health IT: GT's Weekly News Wrap

A backhoe, stolen from a construction site, was tracked to the bow of a ship headed for South America.

by / May 1, 2009

Public Safety

Last Wednesday, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue honored the state's 2,500 9-1-1 professionals, and gave special awards to children -- 10-year old Maggie Davis; 10-year old Chuck Massey; 7-year-old Holland Pugh; 8-year old Mario Smith; and 12-year-old Australia Williams -- who demonstrated "composure and maturity in the midst of a crisis."

In the past month, LoJack Corp.'s stolen vehicle recovery system has helped police solve a number of crimes. A Honda Accord was carjacked at gunpoint by two men. Police picked up the silent LoJack signal and followed the signal to a residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where the Accord was recovered, along with semi-automatic hand guns, and money. A backhoe was stolen from a construction site near the Florida Turnpike. The LoJack signal was located and followed to a freighter docked on the Intracoastal Waterway bound for Costa Rica, Venezuela and other South American countries.  When officials opened the container, they found not only the LoJack-equipped backhoe, but also another stolen backhoe. A LoJack-equipped 2006 Suzuki GSXR-750 motorcycle was discovered stolen from the owner's apartment complex parking lot in Georgia. The signal was tracked to a chop shop and 18 stolen motorcycles were recovered.

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter last week announced that the Colorado Health Information Technology (HIT) Advisory Committee has released a new report identifying how Colorado can significantly reduce costs, improve patient outcomes and make the state's healthcare system more efficient and effective.

Green Initiatives

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly yesterday announced the deployment of 18 marked and 22 unmarked, Nissan Altima Hybrid patrol cars. The city said that at $25,391 per vehicle, the Altima hybrids cost about $1,500 more than the conventional Impala, but at 35 miles per gallon for city driving, the hybrid gets double the gas mileage of the Impala. The hybrids are manufactured in Smyrna, Tenn., and have been assigned to areas of the city where their fuel efficiency presents the greatest economic and environmental benefit -- both in precincts with a large coverage area and smaller precincts prone to heavy stop-and-go traffic.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced last week that the City of Seattle and Nissan North America will work together to promote the development of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. "From light rail to street cars to electric vehicles, we're reducing the impact of transportation on our climate," said Nickels. "Electric-powered transportation is particularly attractive in a city with a carbon-neutral utility, generating clean electricity through hydropower." Nissan has selected the Seattle area to introduce a pure electric five-passenger hatchback in 2010. The vehicle will go 100 miles on a single charge and will charge in four to eight hours using a 220-volt line, similar to what's used for a dryer or hot tub. A home charging unit would be hard-wired in a garage and installed by an electrician. Nissan is also working to foster the development of quick-charging, which will fully charge the vehicle in about 26 minutes.

The Feds

According to a report released recently by the University of Michigan and ForeSee Results, citizen satisfaction with federal government Web sites fell off an all-time high ranking in the first quarter. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Government Satisfaction Index found that that citizen satisfaction dropped half a point from last quarter's all-time high to 73.6 on a 100-point scale. The decline, said ForSee in a release, may be attributable to a change in administration, but the appointments of federal CIO Vivek Kundra and Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients should help accelerate this administration's tech ranking.

Wayne Hanson Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government