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Back to Archives | Back to July 2008 Contents 

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.

IP Access International Equips City of Irvine with Mobile Interoperability Communications Vehicle

IP Access International (IPA), a global commercial satellite service provider of voice, video, and data connectivity solutions, announces the deployment of fully automatic satellite, modem, and networking services on the new state-of-the-art communications vehicle designed for the City of Irvine, California.

IPA’s mobile satellite services were selected for the City of Irvine’s newly acquired mobile communications vehicle.

Equipped with satellite-based network services and a Cisco Call Manager, offered through Global CTI Group’s Epoch Universal division and IPA, the vehicle features communications between the internal computer workstations, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phones, printing capabilities, and wireless VoIP phones and laptops. The city vehicle boasts satellite Internet and networking services, leveraging 3 Mbps of Internet downlink and 1 Mbps uplink capabilities.

The mobile communications vehicle is built on the Freightliner M2 chassis and is 45 feet in length. It is equipped with three slide-out rooms, six workstations, eight VoIP phones, and multiple monitors as part of the top-of-the-line interoperability package.

“The City of Irvine is known for its low crime and commitment to public safety. Customized as a one-of-a-kind specialty vehicle, the mobile satellite and interoperability communications are what truly set this vehicle apart,” said David L. Maggard Jr., Irvine chief of police. “This vehicle and its mobile communications capabilities greatly support both our crime fighting and emergency response efforts. It is truly an awesome vehicle,” Maggard concluded.

The modular access router for the vehicle’s network and VoIP phones work in conjunction with the satellite network. A wireless access point, mounted externally, provides access for wireless VoIP phones and laptops, which also accounts for the possibility of future mesh network expansion.

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Microception Provides Interrogation Recording Technology to Somerville Police Department

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, Massachusetts, and Anthony Holloway, Somerville chief of police, announce the implementation of technology that allows officers and supervisors to view interrogations in real time or afterward from their computers. The VideOversight interrogation recording and case management system from Microception, Inc., also organizes all police information and surveillance footage into an easily searchable virtual case file. Somerville is the first municipality in Massachusetts to use the advanced system.

“This state-of-the-art technology not only makes our police department more effective and efficient, but also allows us to share crucial case information with other municipalities and law enforcement agencies in minutes,” said Mayor Curtatone. “In just the first week of operation we have already used the system to digitally share a suspect’s interrogation with a neighboring city, something that would have taken hours or days to coordinate with the old system.”

“The VideOversight system actually saves our officers a significant amount of time—time that they will spend on the streets working on their cases and forming relationships within the community,” said Chief Holloway. “With the old system, officers would have to review an entire one- or two-hour interrogation tape to find a certain key point. The new system allows us to digitally mark a specific point during an interrogation and return to that moment with the click of a button.”

The new technology automatically archives interrogations and includes a search feature. It also allows officers to view and comment on interrogations from their desk computers.

“This technology is a regional tool—it allows us to share information with our colleagues in minutes,” said Holloway. The system also includes an authentication feature that other police departments and the courts can use to certify the validity of an interrogation.

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CAD Zone’s Crash Zone/Crime Zone Version 8 Used by Law Enforcement in Tennessee and Nebraska

To add action to a presentation of case details before a judge and a jury, law enforcement officials in such locations as Tennessee and Nebraska have chosen the new Crash Zone/Crime Zone Version 8 diagramming software from The CAD Zone, Inc. This software contains new animation tools that make it easy to show the two- or three-dimensional motion of any objects, such as vehicles, people, or bullets. Based on measurements taken at the scene, users place symbols and draw the path those objects followed. Once users place key event points in their diagrams to define changes in velocity, direction, people’s movements, or bullet trajectories, among other variables, they can then watch the animated version of the scenes they have created. Either crash or crime scenes can be animated.

According to Bobby Jones, an assistant chief with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville, Tennessee, “Juries can comprehend [the animation], and the retention is significantly higher than when just using words and diagrams. Anytime we can illustrate in motion, we capture the attention of the jury because juries are typically inclined to want to see technology.” Assistant Chief Jones, a trained crash reconstructionist, uses Crash Zone/Crime Zone Version 8 for crash scenes that he investigates.

Trooper Chris Mannel of the Nebraska State Patrol, who also uses the software, concurs with Assistant Chief Jones, noting that animation is highly effective because it “tells the story about whatever event happened.” Trooper Mannel adds that the software’s animator is excellent for creating what-if scenarios, especially for crash scenes (typically viewed by law enforcement personnel as crime scenes). “What if a driver was going at the speed limit or less? A county attorney in court might say, ‘Let’s rerun the whole thing [the animated crash scene sequence] at that speed limit and see what happens then.’” ■

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXV, no. 7, July 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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