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Machine Language: The Latest Mobile Computing Solutions Offer Cops Everything They Need and Then Some

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 27 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2003 Pages: 24,26,28
Dave Douglas
Date Published
November 2003
4 pages
This article discusses mobile computers in police cars.
Perhaps the biggest change in police work over the last decade has been the introduction of mobile computers in police cars. Mobile computers now interface with radio systems to dispatch police officers to calls. They are used to communicate with dispatchers; run wants, warrants, and criminal histories; and receive driver license and other motor vehicle information. Reports can be written on them and they can transmit the reports to supervisors for approval and relay them to the records division. One of the major considerations each department must struggle with regarding notebook computers is whether to go with ruggedized, semi-ruggedized, or non-ruggedized hardware. A ruggedized patrol computer has a hard outer shell and shock-protected internal components. Semi-rugged systems have shock-protected internals and a somewhat hard outer shell. Non-rugged systems are the normal consumer notebooks bought at any electronics store. Most people would assume that the best computer for police applications is a ruggedized unit. But the rule of thumb is, the more rugged a computer, the higher the price. Some administrators analyze the applications for the computers and assign ruggedized, semi-ruggedized, and non-ruggedized units based on the rigors of the users’ duties. Fewer manufacturers make the ruggedized computer suitable for police or military operations. Some of the rugged and semi-rugged notebook computers available to law enforcement today are the AMREL Systems’ Rocky Mobile and Rocky Matrix; the GETAC A-Series MIL-SPEC, W130, or CA25; The Itronix GoBook II; Kontron Mobil Computing’s ReVolution; MicroSlate’s MSL 3000PIII, Datellite 500PIII; and Panasonic’s Toughbook 34 and 28.