New Technology For Local Law Enforcement

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

September 14, 2006

Local authorities will soon have some new technology right at their fingertips. It's all to help with communication.

A total public safety system: that's what new, mobile data computer software is being called.

"The big reward I guess for the system is what the officers can do with it in the field," said Corporal Rob Heide with Albemarle County Police.

It's an effort between the Charlottesville, Albemarle, and UVa police forces, as well as both city and county fire departments.

Partially funded through a grant from Homeland Security, it's a way to make communication better.

"Every agency uses different software, different systems. We try to create an interface that's common to everybody that brings all the information together across all the different departments," said Vice President of Software Development for FATPOT, Ryan Sealy.

The information police officers now have to call in, they will soon be able to do from a laptop in their police cars.

"Such things as license checks, stolen vehicle checks, wanted person checks, taking a report [can] now [be done] on the computer as opposed to writing it and then having someone in the police department enter it into the computer system," explained Corporal Heide of the new system.

The mobile software also has features, which include, text voice capabilities, maps, alerts and instant messages.

"It provides sort of a one-stop shop for communication," said Sealy.

All this means officers will save quite a bit of time and be able to spend more of their day out in the field.

Authorities say they can't wait until they can officially start using the system.

"That will be a landmark. We will be one of the first regions in this area to have it," said Corporal Heide.

About 350 officers total will have there own laptops and will go through training to use the new system.

Authorities hope to have the system up and running by the end of the year or the beginning of next year.

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