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In case you were wondering …

$4 million buys you 73 cameras strategically placed on telephone polls across the District of Columbia.  Toss in a box of donuts and a few former patrol officers, and you’ve got yourself a well-fed big brother program.

D.C. police are now watching live images from dozens of surveillance cameras posted in high-crime parts of the city, hoping to respond faster to shootings, robberies and other offenses and catch suspects before they get away.

The verdict is still out to whether taking this “cars off the street” approach will work, but Chief of Police Kathy Lanier is confident the new reality TV approach will help the department’s “response time.”

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she thought the department wasn’t making the most of the technology and was missing opportunities to more quickly solve crimes — or even stop them in progress. “I thought, ‘Why the heck aren’t we watching them?’ ” Lanier said.

Why the heck not is right, Kathy.