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The Glendale (CA) Police determined that their police officers were spending an inordinate amount of time at their desks filling out paperwork related to citations, accidents, arrests, and other incidents and less time in the field patrolling their beat. But upgrading patrol car-based computers and providing officers with greater mobility and flexibility can get incredibly expensive.

The solution was to replace existing in-car computer workstations with Fully Rugged GETAC M220 and M230 mobile notebook PCs, which can be quickly removed from their docking station for use anywhere outside the vehicle. Officers can now track calls, access information from the field and write reports at their convenience from anywhere at any time. This allows officers to spend more time in the field and less time in the office. In the end, this translates to better public safety and greater feeling of police “protection” by its citizens. In-car computers have transformed the way law enforcement officers work by providing instant access to dispatch information, criminal history databases and other critical tools that help free up the radio.

When Glendale Police Depart-ment decided to upgrade its mobile computing hardware, it chose the GETAC M-Series. The larger screens and lower cost of the rugged laptop vs. fixed-mount systems combined with the ability for an officer to use the laptop for report writing made the rugged laptop the only choice.

Today, the department’s 188 patrol officers can remain in the field longer and work more efficiently from inside and outside their patrol units thanks to the 42 GETAC M220 and 36 GETAC M230 Fully Rugged PCs deployed throughout the Glendale force.

Unlike the aging fixed-mount models they were replacing, the GETAC M-Series units offered a docking station option that made it fast and easy to remove the unit from the vehicle.

“Ergonomically, it’s not very comfortable or practical to sit in a patrol car and type a report,” said Walter Calles, IT manager, Glendale PD. “The GETAC docking station allows our officers the flexibility of removing the unit from the vehicle and working from a more comfortable or convenient location. What’s really great is that they no longer have to come to the station to type up reports because the unit’s wireless connectivity allows them to write their reports directly to the server from the field, which is where they need to be.”
Today the department is working to switch its 900 MHz radio connection to Sprint’s EVDO broadband. The agency uses the GETAC’s rugged computers for everything from e-mail, criminal records checks, CAD (dispatch software), in-house records system, BOLO (be on the lookout) and even the county fingerprint database. Two of the city’s cars are equipped with license plate recognition cameras and software, and 32 of the cars are being outfitted with in-car video cameras that will upload to the station via an 802.11g WiFi connection where the vehicles are parked. The Glendale Police Department is definitely on the cutting edge of technology.

Published in Public Safety IT, Nov/Dec 2008

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