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Mobile Data in Action

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 36 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2009 Pages: 82,84,85
Michael Rubin
Date Published
October 2009
3 pages
This article describes the changes that occurred for patrol officers of the Tempe Police Department (Arizona) when the department changed from an analog radio network to a mobile wireless digital technology for patrol cars.
Under the analog radio network, in order for patrol officers in the field to obtain information on vehicles or suspects, they had to radio a dispatcher with a query and wait for a response, a time-consuming, inefficient, and labor-intensive process. Tempe's search for a new communications solution led them to In Motion Technology, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company that specializes in mobile networking technology for mission-critical organizations. The trial of the new system began by equipping four patrol cars with the new mobile Wi-Fi technology. A dramatic change was immediately evident. Using wireless laptops from in or out of their cars, officers in the field were able to file reports, send e-mails, and access the department's database as if they were in the station. Tempe then deployed this technology throughout its patrol fleet (180 vehicles) in less than 3 weeks. Using Panasonic Toughbook laptops and other devices in and around patrol vehicles, officers can download mug shots, view databases of "most wanted" criminals, and access other crime-fighting resources. Officers also file reports and perform other administrative tasks from their vehicles without returning to the station. Software such as In Motion's on Board Mobility Manager can continuously collect and analyze information from appropriately equipped vehicles. Other features allow information-technology staff to remotely and securely troubleshoot and upgrade connected communications devices without taking vehicles or personnel off the road.