Sparks Police Get Familiar With New Gps Equipment
The Sparks (Nevada) Police Department recently used a federal grant to purchase SmartStation, a $41,000 land surveying device featuring Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, says Shane Minick, a Sparks traffic officer.
Alex Cherchian with H&S Survey and Laser, which sold the equipment to the department, says an incident that used to take two hours to three hours to assess could be completed within an hour using SmartStation. He adds that Sparks is the only department using the GPS technology in Northern Nevada.
The tool consists of a GPS rover and a Total Station; the latter does not require satellite technology and can also be used inside homes to evaluate homicides and other crimes, according to Minick. Special software allows a computer to use longitude and latitude measurements to create aerial maps and reconstruct an event.
GPS expert Ron Laylon has been training Minick and other officers how to use the 15-pound equipment. Laylon, who works at the Sparks Geospatial Technologies Office, previously helped the department create aerial maps before it purchased the equipment. He also uses the technology to map sewer manholes, catch basins, and fire hydrants.
Minick says the maps are typically used in court cases for hit-and-run incidents, DUI, and civil litigation. “You are not just looking at lines and dots on a piece of white paper . . . it is much more accurate and much more to scale,” he asserts.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Reno Gazette-Journal (03/31/06); Chong, Beryl .