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Front Page » October 3, 2002 » Local News » Price law enforcement officials testing laptop computers ...
Published 4,437 days ago

Price law enforcement officials testing laptop computers in city patrol vehicles


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter


Police Lt. Ed Shook utilizes the capabilities of a new laptop computer being tested in Price city patrol cars. Although the new system is still in the process of being set up and tested, when fully operational, the computers will allow Price city officers to write police reports, pull up records and search the state crime files from the patrol cars. The practice will save time as well as trips to the police station and allow officers to spend more of their shifts working in the field.

With the technology currently available to the public, it appears that every business and government agency are capitalizing on the wave of the future. For the Price City Police Department, the assumption holds true.

After six months of planning, the police department finally received equipment which will allow the officers to request and receive critical information while patroling in the field.

Currently, preliminary testing, construction and evaluation is underway to determine a system which will allow officers to remain seated in their patrol cars while researching information relevant to the cases they are investigating.

Lt. Ed Shook explains that new laptop computers will soon grace each Price city patrol car and will enable officers to query various state and local data bases as well as write police reports in the office system without leaving their vehicle.

"We have been exploring this idea for the last six months," explained Shook. "Chief Aleck Shilaos and I discussed this idea after he saw an article in a police publication."

A panel of city officials was then formed and discussions ensued about probable costs and benefits which the computer system would provide the city.

After several meetings and some research, requests for proposals were then advertised to state media agencies. The city then selected the winning bidder which is a company based in Orem.

A contract was prepared and agreed upon by Price City and the Orem company which allowed the police department to begin testing the equipment last week.

During the testing phase, the system will be evaluated for integrity and reliability. If the testing phase proves to be successful to the city, then the company will install the required additional equipment.

After working with the system for several days, Shook expressed excitement in the new system.

"It sure makes it easy to sit in the patrol car and write out reports. We can also look up information regarding a traffic stop or any other case which we are working on. The extra trips to the police station will be eliminated by the new system and will allow officers to remain in the field," explained Shook.

Once the system is fully operational, the police department will equip all city patrol cars with the laptop computer. The computers will remain in the patrol cars at all times.

Several towers will be installed and located around the Price city area . The towers will not only allow officers to utilize the system from almost every location within the city, but also eliminate the need for unwanted telephone lines.

Officers will be able to sit in their patrol cars and look up valuable information such as warrants and records.

The state crime data base will be available as well as the NCIC data base which informs officers of warrants and information regarding criminals from across the country.

The system will not only make the officers job easier, but it will also provide Price city residents with added protection as law enforcement officials are working in the field an increased amount of time.

Shook also explained that following the initial test phase, additional city departments may also wish to add the system to their programs.

"I can see practical applications for the fire department, the water and sewer department and building department. Maps, permits and other documents could be available to these departments in the field," stated Shook.

The police lieutenant also mentioned that he was aware that at least one other city in Carbon County is looking at the same technology.

"They may even get on the air before us even though they started later. We are being very thorough with our research on the equipment we purchase, however. Even the cheaper stuff is expensive and we can't afford to buy it twice," explained the police lieutenant.

"I have also heard many sad stories of departments who bought regular laptops and they just didn't perform or broke due to vibrations and dust. We are putting forth every effort to avoid this from happening," explained Shook.

As the Price police department takes a leap toward upgrading its technology, the department is also increasing the productivity of its workforce.

With more hours spent in the field as opposed to hours spent in the office, the Price police will provide added security to its residents.

"We hope to have this system fully operational by the end of the month, in fact it may be even sooner. By the time that we are done however each Price City patrol vehicle will be equipped with this technology," concluded Shook.


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