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Toughbook Depot and El Campo, TX Police work together to cut costs

Toughbook Depot, a subsidiary of Rugged Notebooks, is a premier global provider of new and refurbished Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers.

For the past 10 years, Rugged Notebooks has been a leader in providing ruggedized laptops, tablet computers and PDAs to the military and public safety agencies who depend on military-tested products and platforms for their field automation.

Toughbook Depot offers a unique array of new and refurbished Toughbook® products, vehicle mounting solutions and hard-to-find parts and accessories for today’s demanding public safety applications. Their user-friendly e-store experience combined with product expertise makes Toughbook Depot a valuable partner for public safety agencies.

With savings as high as 75 percent compared to purchasing new items, and combined with a standard one-year warranty, Toughbook Depot’s line of refurbished Toughbook products offers tremendous value. Additional warranty coverage of up to three years and optional “No Fault” warranty offer a “No Risk” approach to owning a refurbished Toughbook laptop.

Not every laptop passes the rigorous, multi-point Beyond Process quality inspection of Toughbook Depot’s factory authorized refurbished Toughbook products. Units are hand-picked and each component within the unit must pass stringent functionality requirements and cosmetic prerequisites.

The Web site is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about factory authorized refurbished Panasonic Toughbook models for sale online. The Toughbook Depot Web site is updated often with informative content regarding the availability of the most popular models of new and used Panasonic Toughbooks. Frequent updates ensure that customers can check back often and find current information.

As a long-standing leader in the industry, Panasonic was one of the first companies to develop and market special-use portable computers for demanding situations and occupations like military personnel, the public service sector, law enforcement, governmental agencies, emergency medical services and fire and rescue. offers a wide selection of refurbished and overstock Panasonic Toughbook computers below retail and at discounted pricing. The staff and parent company have years of experience to aid you in the selection and service of the Toughbook mobile computer line, accessories, infrastructure and software. “Buying Tough for Less” with assurance is Toughbook Depot’s motto. The Toughbook Depot staff of trained consultants is ready to answer any pre-sales questions, inclusive of ongoing support for your Toughbook computer needs.

El Campo, TX

El Campo, TX is located 70 miles southwest of Houston. The city has a population of approximately 12,000 residents, the largest in Wharton County. The jurisdictional limits encompass six-plus square miles and 1 mile territorial.

According to Chief Terry Marek, the El Campo, TX Police Department has 29 full-time sworn officers and two part-time reserve officers. Its civilian support staff has 43 employees.

El Campo PD’s Communications Division manages calls for Police, Fire, EMS for the city’s residents, as well as an additional 15,000 residents outside of jurisdictional limits. They answer approximately 13,000 calls for service per year. The department handles 3,000 criminal arrests per year. In addition, the officers of El Campo PD write 4,500 traffic citations and give out 5,800 warning citations, while managing 1,200 official crime reports per year.

Chief Marek said his agency did not receive a substantial increase in funding last year. Therefore, El Campo PD wanted to minimize the cost of the high-end rugged laptops they were using at the time. Those laptops cost between $4,500–5,000 per unit. Toughbook Depot’s refurbished Panasonic Toughbook CF-29 costs less than half at $1,000 per unit with upgrades. “I’m a fan of refurbished laptops because they are not only looked at once, but twice,” Marek stated. Toughbook Depot’s Panasonic Toughbook units come with the same warranty as new models. Marek said his department had mechanical issues with their old brand of laptops and they often had to be serviced. However, they haven’t run into any of those issues with the refurbished Toughbooks.

Currently, El Campo PD has 15 mobile data terminals (MDTs)/laptops in service, and half of those are the Panasonic Toughbook. Marek said they are intending to replace the other models with Panasonic’s through Toughbook Depot. Toughbook Depot gave Marek the option to “test drive” their refurbished Toughbooks, but Marek didn’t feel the need. “We had purchased three new Panasonic Toughbooks in the past and had no issues for three years while they were in use,” Marek said.

El Campo PD uses neighboring Houston’s Harris County to access the National Data Gathering Network and the Texas Law Enforcement Teletype System (TLETS) for NCIS operations such as running blood checks or protection orders, etc. The division manager of Harris County recommended Toughbook Depot to Marek because they use them and had a positive experience.

Marek said EL Campo PD’s officers use their Toughbooks for many operations, including an electronic citation system for traffic. Similar to a credit card swipe, the system collects data and automatically runs information to check if a driver is insured or not insured, etc. Citations can be printed in the car, and officers can wirelessly download all of their citations to El Campo’s server. This data is then transferred to the courts system automatically as well.

The state of Texas requires mobile videotaping for all traffic stops. Today’s camera systems are capable of downloading video into the Toughbook computer, which can then be copied onto CDs for evidence use.

El Campo PD purchased the additional warranties offered by Toughbook Depot. A one-year warranty came with the unit. An additional two-year warranty cost $200, and it is “well worth the price,” Marek noted. “The cost savings by using Toughbook Depot is huge and allows us the opportunity to double the inventory and the number of units in the field,” Marek said.

El Campo uses the Panasonic Toughbooks in the mobile units as well as in the detective division. Officers use them when conducting interviews and taking statements. Marek cited an example of when an officer used his Toughbook to show a video to a woman in order to identify a suspect. They are also used in PowerPoint presentations for training purposes.

El Campo PD is very satisfied with Toughbook Depot’s customer service, technical support and response. “If we have any questions, they are very attentive to our concerns,” Marek explained. It’s clear Toughbook Depot is making a difference in the El Campo Police Department, which in turn makes the city of El Campo safer.

If your department is looking for a complete mobile computing solution or if you would like to learn more about their refurbished Toughbook products, visit and watch the “Tough Test” video, or speak with a public safety specialist at (866) 654-0192.

Photos by Vicki Roberts and El Campo, TX Police Department.

Published in Public Safety IT, Mar/Apr 2010

Rating : 7.2

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