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Mobile unit field reporting system features enhanced messaging

Enhanced messaging and trigger-based notification are primary features of the Mobile Unit Field Reporting System (MUFRS) available from Mobile BIS, a division of BIS Computer Solutions Inc.

The system allows police officers and other public safety officials to use S60 3rd Edition devices to securely interact with law enforcement databases on a wide range of functions. These include tracking criminal suspects, running National Crime Information Center (NCIC) checks, viewing photos, generating citations, downloading case report forms and uploading critical identity information.

The MUFRS application uses Oracle Database Lite 10g to interact with BIS Computer Solutions’ Records Management System (RMS) database or an agency’s existing back-end database. It can provide an officer with information pertaining to a specific person, vehicle, location or case record. All data can be communicated by wireless transmission or synchronized when the officer reaches his station. A number of communication protocols are supported. BIS calls the system “platform agnostic,” which means it can be operated on any major smart phone, laptop or notebook.

The Messaging/Notification module automatically notifies supervisors of action items. Notifications are also sent to officers in the field. The use of Oracle Database Lite 10g and S60 3rd Edition devices allows for online and offline communications, enabling data to be transferred if a connection is lost while an officer is in transit. The application can also integrate a variety of input and output devices, such as printers, scanners, magnetic stripe readers, digital cameras, microphones and even mobile fingerprint readers. By using these features, an officer can print out information and upload commentary, data and media to a central system.

BIS Computer Solutions was one of the first companies to develop a fully integrated Criminal Justice Information System (CJI) according to Michael Macho, BIS director. This newest version of MUFRS was released within the last year. Other versions and modules had been installed prior to this release.

Before the introduction of MUFRS, officers and investigators did not have total access to up-to-date information pertaining to people, vehicles, locations and properties, Macho explained. “MUFRS gives officers access (via laptops, tablet PDAs and handheld devices) to all this information,” he noted. “It provides officers with a wealth of information, including warnings of dangerous situations.” Also, the system integrates with Google Maps and Google Latitude to provide exact locations based on GEO coding and satellite coordinates.

“MUFRS makes a police officer’s job easier because it provides instant access to information, so he can start a case for investigative purposes or start the booking process,” Macho explained. “It also helps to save the lives of officers in that it provides them with critical information pertaining to dangerous situations. For example, if an officer is near a gang-infested area, MUFRS will alert him to the situation. It also lets the officer know, based on a particular address, all of the individuals (who have local and federal warrants) that live in or frequent that location.” Everything is updated in real time, so the officer has instant access to the information.

MUFRS is designed to work with BIS Orca 2000+RMS and Orca2000+CMS applications. In fact, it is a horizontal application that can integrate with any RMS or CMS. Easy-to-integrate APIs are available for this application, allowing it to seamlessly integrate into third party databases. “The software is Windows-based and user-intuitive; however, BIS support and training staff are available 24/7 to assist with mission critical situations,” Macho added.

In addition, officers are wirelessly connected to database servers until dead spots are encountered. Orca2000+MUFRS retains all data within the mobile unit until wireless communication is re-established, at which point automatic synchronization occurs. Depending on department policies, field applications may include: crime/incident and arrest reporting via the Case Management module, traffic citations (including DUIs), accident reporting and field interviews. Accident sketches can utilize Visio and other drawing tool formats.

Data entry is done only once. Hence, only unique data required for a specific “form” is presented for data entry. Numerous drop-down boxes simplify the process. When the forms are printed, all necessary information is repeated on each form, properly formatted. Access to NCIC queries is also provided. Data entered on MUFRS screens is broken down to meet state and national data formats. Returned data can be parsed and automatically updated to the database. The messaging system allows officers to integrate messaging/notification algorithms into the system. These triggers send field reports to supervisors for approval and notify records management staff of key events.

MUFRS allows for the synchronization of various data tables on remote computers/laptops used within an agency as well as personal digital assistants (PDAs). Synchronization assures that the same data is available to mobile users as well as those directly accessing the central computer’s database.

In addition, MUFRS automates the issuance of citations. An officer can scan a driver’s license that has magnetic stripes or bar codes. Behind the scenes, an RMS search of the MNI offers immediate validation of the suspect. An NCIC search can be automatically launched to the state database and eventually to the FBI. If no further details emerge, a portable printer generates the citation. If the officer needs to obtain additional evidence, he can use still camera images, voice recordings, streaming video and other attachments. All of these can be attached to the narrative portion of the case.

Neal Lorenzi is a creative writer with several years of experience in research, writing, copy editing, reporting, graphic design and desktop publishing.

Published in Public Safety IT, Jan/Feb 2010

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