Laptops become standard equipment for police
The Miami Police Department (MPD) has installed wireless networked laptops in hundreds of its cars. The system helps keep officers in the field for as many hours as possible, rather than in the precinct fulfilling administrative duties.
“Our officers’ time is too precious to spend at the station,” says MPD Major Joseph Longueira. “In the past, however, they had no choice but to spend a portion of each shift indoors filling out reports. Instead of requiring them to come into the station, we decided to take the station to them with laptop computers.”
The Department’s 725 laptops, from Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys, are integrated with the department’s dispatch, reporting and other information systems. Each carries mobile data terminal software.
Officers can use the system to access police files, reducing the burden on dispatchers, booking clerks and other support personnel. Rather than radio in for information about suspects, officers can query the department’s database with their computers.
The laptops feature a paperless incident report system that is expected to produce several benefits for the department. For example, the number of errors on reports should decrease significantly since illegible handwriting and incomplete fields have been eliminated. Also, because the reports will be filed in real-time, they will be immediately available to other officers in the department.
“With this system, our officers are armed with all of the information they need to do their jobs effectively,” Longueira says. “Between spending more time on the street and having better access to department data, Miami police officers will do their jobs more effectively than ever before.”