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.
Memphis Police Department Deploys Mobile Companions to Its Mobile Officers
Celio Corp. has announced that the Memphis, Tennessee, Police Department (MPD) has purchased and deployed 1,200 REDFLY Mobile Companions to officers in the field as an alternative to in-car laptops. The REDFLY is a smartphone terminal with a large screen and full keyboard that lets officers use their Windows Mobile–compatible smartphones as if they were full-blown PCs. REDFLY is designed to save on hardware costs while increasing productivity and also improving the quality and the accuracy of officers’ field reports.
The REDFLY device links to a smartphone via a USB cable or wireless Bluetooth connection. REDFLY enables users to comfortably use e-mail, read attachments, view Web sites, and use applications that reside on their smartphones for greater mobile productivity.
Prior to the REDFLY, the MPD was using smartphones to gain access to sites and applications such as the Watson Field Reporting Suite and the MPD’s own Web database. However, it quickly became apparent that working and typing on the smartphone’s small screen and keyboard limited officers’ ability to effectively use the databases and applications to aid in their jobs.
“We noticed that when officers use only their smartphones, reports had typos, and the narratives were not as detailed as they needed to be,” said Major Jim Harvey. “The larger screen and keyboard has given our officers what they need to bring up mug shots and individuals’ information from our databases, as well as implement a new Paperless Reporting program to submit incident report narratives. Now they can do their jobs more effectively and are very comfortable using their smartphones to file their reports.”
The purchase of REDFLY has enabled the MPD to improve incident report narratives. Officers now have much more screen “real estate” and a larger QWERTY keyboard provided by the REDFLY’s eight-inch display and keyboard.
Harvey continued, “We want to provide our officers with the best technology while being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. This is a good investment.”
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Florida Sheriff’s Office Protects Children Online with Monitoring Software
SpectorSoft Corp. announces that police departments and sheriff’s offices continue to recommend, purchase, and distribute monitoring technology to help parents protect kids from the dangers of the Internet.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Sanford, Florida, recently negotiated a significant special purchase agreement with SpectorSoft for its monitoring software, called Spector. Spector works by taking snapshots of whatever is on the computer screen and saving the snapshots to a hidden location on the computer's hard drive. Spector can automatically take a picture of the computer screen as frequently as once per second, or snapshots can be triggered by user activity. Additionally, Spector records every Web site visited and features a world-class keystroke recorder that captures every key users type on the computer keyboard, including passwords.
The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office provides a copy of Spector version 4.0 to attendees of its "Dangers of the Internet" program, presented to parents, guardians, and educators in cooperation with Florida’s Seminole County Public Schools.
"Through the Internet, crimes against children reach beyond the boundaries of Seminole County, Florida, and we recognize the need to give parents and guardians the necessary tools to protect their children," said Sergeant Dan Purcell of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. "We also recognize that law enforcement services alone will not prevent or detect crime; it takes a solid partnership with parents to prevent sexual predators from harming our children. Spector 4.0 is an important part of that partnership."
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Australian Police Agency Rolls Out New Records Management System
The Victoria, Australia, Police are set to leap into a new era with the replacement of its Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP). A new records management system known as LINK will be progressively rolled out from late 2009 following an extensive consultation and tender process, with Victoria Police awarding the software contract to Canadian company Niche Technology.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said the LINK project was progressing well, and improved security and audit features will increase data security for police and the community: “LINK is an advanced system that will provide our members with an easy ‘link’ to secure, quality data. It will be more efficient and user-friendly, and this investment in technology will meet the needs of Victoria Police now and for many years to come.”
The LINK project team worked closely with the Commissioner for Law Enforcement Data Security (CLEDS) on system security issues as part of the tender process. Deputy Commissioner Walshe said Victoria Police will continue to work with CLEDS to ensure LINK complies with the required standards for the security of law enforcement data systems. “We understand that the community demands the collection, storage, access, and use of information on Victoria Police systems be tightly controlled and that all privacy guidelines are stringently met.”
LEAP was implemented in 1993, and in 2005 the state government announced that it would fund the replacement of the system. The LINK project commenced in mid-2006 and is scheduled to be completed over a five-year period. Implementation of the system and training for LINK users are due to be progressively rolled out across Victoria over 12 months, commencing in late 2009. ■
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