Handheld Devices Help Campus Officers Coordinate Crime Response
Drexel University scientists have developed DragonForce, a communication system that lets campus officers communicate with each other and view real-time maps that display the location of other officers through GPS satellites and wireless sensors.
A central dispatcher has this information at his fingertips, enabling him to coordinate the response to an event and relay maps to officers’ handheld devices.
“For the most part, the application the user sees is a souped-up walkie-talkie with a map,” said William Regli, associate professor of computer science.
While some of the voice and data-entry functions of the system need tweaking, Drexel has already been in discussions with the military and police forces about purchasing the system. Drexel security officers have been testing the devices for about a month, and have responded to them favorably, though there has not been a major crime during the testing period. Training exercises have illustrated how officers arriving at a scene at different times can more effectively coordinate their movements, however.
The devices communicate with each other over Drexel’s wireless network or, if the network is unavailable, through radio waves. This feature is especially promising for the military, as the technology would still work in remote areas with no wireless access, though radio waves will only transmit the signal over a few hundred feet.
DARPA and Lockheed Martin will test the technology this summer in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the Department of Public Safety in Atlantic County, N.J., intends to roll out the devices later this year.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Chronicle of Higher Education (01/27/06); Carnevale, Dan .