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Back to Archives | Back to May 2008 Contents 

Advances & Applications

Advances & Applications



Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about and benefit from — some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Voxtec International, Inc., has announced that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has purchased the company’s Phraselator P2 devices and Module Builder PRO software to provide its officers with powerful one-way, machine-based translation capabilities.

“With more than 260 languages spoken in the Los Angeles area, a human translator can’t be present in every situation requiring communication with someone with limited English proficiency,” said Sergeant Eric Lee of the LAPD. “While the Phraselators do not replace a human translator, these devices can be a lifesaver.”


The purchases exemplify the LAPD’s proactive efforts to improve its management of crowd control situations. Last May, language and communication breakdowns between officers and civilians after a demonstration in the city’s MacArthur Park resulted in dozens of injuries. As part of its improved crowd control procedures, the department has also purchased all-terrain vehicles equipped with MAD full-range speakers to broadcast translated phrases from its Phraselators in dozens of languages.

“Restoring order in chaotic situations requires carefully worded communication that can be understood by everyone within earshot,” said Sergeant Lee. “When attached to MAD technology, we can program the Phraselators to project phrases such as ‘We are here to facilitate your First Amendment rights,’ repeated in several languages, up to half a mile away.”

In addition to purchasing the Phraselators, the LAPD also purchased Voxtec’s Module Builder PRO software, which will allow the department to create its own set of customized phrases using trusted human translators and install them on the Phraselator devices. LAPD representatives said the department will use the software to expand its library of crowd control phrases as well as for such situations as prison inmate procedures, field sobriety test administration, and routine traffic stops.

For more information, click here, and insert number 40 in the box on the Reader Service Number response service.

Texas County Installs Tiburon Public Safety and Integrated Justice System

CompuDyne Corp. announced today that its Tiburon, Inc., subsidiary has completed the installation of a new $8.7 million public safety system for Harris County, Texas. This comprehensive system includes new computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management system (RMS), mobile communication, and field reporting to support the law enforcement agencies that serve the citizens of Harris County, the third most populous county in the United States.

“With the successful collaboration between Tiburon and Harris County to advance the use of technology for our law enforcement agencies, the county has achieved greater operational efficiencies and enhanced communication between departments, which results in better service to our community,” said Tommy Thomas, sheriff of Harris County.

The new CAD system networks nine separate dispatch locations throughout Harris County. It operates on fully distributed Microsoft Windows workstations and is designed to provide server-independent processing of all critical CAD functions for a reliable configuration with virtually 100 percent system availability. If any component fails, the system continues to function.

The comprehensive RMS consolidates and automates records processing and criminal investigations for Harris County law enforcement agencies.

In addition, a comprehensive mobile communications component, which includes mobile mapping and automated report writing, has been installed in the county’s 6,000 vehicles. The mobile map allows the officers to view the location of an incident as well as other units in the area, enhancing officer safety and response coordination.

Officers can also enter and access their case and accident reports while in their vehicles. Tiburon’s accident-reporting component includes an advanced drawing tool to diagram the accident and generates accident report information compliant with Texas Department of Public Safety requirements. Additionally, officers can transmit arrest reports electronically to the district attorney’s office; with Tiburon’s electronic citation capability, citations are automatically uploaded to the court. This integrated mobile technology increases the speed and accuracy of reporting and allows officers to spend more time in the community.

For more information, click here, and insert number 41 in the box on the Reader Service Number response service.

Information Builders’ Business Intelligence Technology Aids Houston Police

The Houston, Texas, Police Department has announced the launch of its new high-tech crime center and law enforcement application to help predict crime activities and provide key information to officers responding to calls. Information Builders provided the technology behind the new law enforcement application.

The crime center’s team uses WebFOCUS, Information Builders’ business intelligence (BI) technology, along with integration technology from iWay Software as well as a dynamic geographic information system mapping tool from ESRI to enable predictive analysis of crime activity in the city. Crime analysts drill down through the city’s crime data to identify trends that enable the department to reassign officers to hotspot areas to reduce future crime activity. The data analyzed are anywhere from 30 seconds to six hours old.

BI technology also allows analysts to provide responding officers with important details, such as the history of criminal activity at a particular address and surrounding areas as well as background information on the residents of the addresses to which they are called. The system also directs officers to people at the scene with firsthand knowledge about alleged crimes.

“Thanks to business intelligence technology from Information Builders, our officers now have much more knowledge about a particular crime or incident than they ever had before,” said Houston police chief Harold Hurtt. “It is our hope that this technology will lead to quicker arrests and speed the time and improve the efficacy of criminal investigations.” ■   

For more information, click here, and insert number 42 in the box on the Reader Service Number response service.

 

From The Police Chief, vol. LXXV, no. 5, May 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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