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My Police Ride Along November 1, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Efficiency Process, Efficient Technologies.
Tags: , ,

For the last couple of months I have been involved in a program that our city’s police department puts on called the Citizen Police Academy.  I have learned quite a few things about how the department operates and how the basic system works.  This last Monday I had the opportunity to go on a ride-along.  It was a pretty cool experience and I found it pretty interesting.  The reason that I bring this up is to talk about the computer system that the police cars in our city have and how they have created serious efficiencies.

The Old Way

I am sure that you all know what the old way of doing things in police cars was.  If they needed information about a person or a car they did what?  Get on the radio and ask the dispatcher to find out.  This seems like a decent way until you think about the fact that in many metro areas there will be hundreds of police officers out and needing information.  This does not include the other emergency personnel.  In many areas this really got to be a nightmare. 

What I saw

When I got into the police car on Monday evening, the officer showed me what the car had in it.  Obviously, it still had the radio, lights, scanner, etc.  Also, it had the audio and video system that watches and listens to what happens around the car.  Then she showed me the computer system in the cars.  It was very impressive what functionality they are provided.

First, the system obviously was completely wireless.  I know the system had a Sprint wireless card in it but I also think that it might have connected to our city’s private WiFi net. 

Anyway, at any time, the officer is able to see all of the calls that are currently active in the city.  They can look up information about a person or car just like the dispatchers can.  So they can punch in a license plate and the information starts streaming in.  This provides them the ability to access data without calling in.

They are also able to see their current position on a map via GPS.  Now, that’s not a huge deal but then the data is mashed with the current call information and other car locations.  So they can see where they are headed and where the other cars are at that time.  This provides for a better idea of where they are going on a call and also who else is the neighborhood should assistance be needed.

From that system, they also have the ability to instant message other cars.  I found this to be a pretty cool feature.  Instead of taking up radio space and being able to be heard by every scanner in the area they were able to message specific cars.   This allows an exchange of information without the typical headaches. 

Also from the cars the police are able to do their paperwork.  This is a huge benefit when you think about how much paperwork they are required to do.  Would you prefer that the cops are on the road the majority of the time or sitting in the office filling out paperwork?  I know that here in our city the police chief makes presence a high priority and I think that the citizens can see that.

Final Paperwork

I always knew that the police had access to some pretty cool technology, I guess I had just never seen it in person.  I must say that I was pretty impressed by the level of access to informaiton that they had at their fingertips in the car.  By providing this kind of functionality they are able to provide better service to the citizens.  This type of efficiency allows the police to be out on the streets instead of sitting in the office.  It also allows the use of the radio to be much more efficient.  There is little talking over each other while still being able to do their jobs.

Is there anyway that you could employ technology to better serve your customers?  Could you make your employees more efficient and productive by employing mobile technology?

If there is anything that I can help with, please feel free to contact me.  Also, thank you to Officer Murphy for the ride-along.



1. Robert Stanke - November 3, 2008


Thank you for the “insider’s perspective” of the police car. For the men and women protecting and serving us – they should have the best available! Next, the U.S. should focus on our technology in healthcare initative (IMHO)…

Robert Stanke

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