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Back to Archives | Back to September 2011 Contents 

September 2011

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.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Lowers Fleet Costs with On-Site Analysis

John Rencher, fleet manager for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Fleet Services Department, successfully lowered operation and maintenance costs with on-site fluids analysis conducted in just minutes with the help of On-Site Analysis Inc.

Fluid analysis is vital to the health of all fleet vehicles and equipment. With results as comprehensive as those from an off-site lab, on-site oil analysis in minutes is helping to cut fleet operation and maintenance costs by enabling real-time diagnosis and repair, minimizing vehicle and crew downtime, and extending oil and vehicle life.

“On-site oil analysis helps us get most repairs done within 48 hours in a typical preventive maintenance (PM) cycle,” said Rencher. “Our completion-to-schedule ratio for fleet PMs is 99.7 percent, and our fleet availability is 97 percent or better at any given time. Because we are able to deal with most issues at the point of detection rather than having to schedule a callback for corrective service, on-site analysis lowers our operations and maintenance costs.”

While Fort Lauderdale’s Fleet Services Department had used off-site fluid analysis for years, Rencher, who oversees a fleet of more than 1,500 vehicles and is part of the city’s energy-efficiency teams, realized that the delay in receiving results posed significant logistical drawbacks.

“We could no longer afford to wait days for the results of off-site oil analysis,” Rencher said. “By then, we’d already released the vehicles and would have to call them back for any needed repair, doubling vehicle and crew downtime.”

Real-time, on-site analysis is now eliminating the wait and the costly sampling with easy-to-use equipment. In 12 minutes or fewer, operators can access comprehensive diagnostic analysis showing oxidation, metal wear, contamination, and other specifics before equipment loss and downtime become catastrophic. Fleet managers can repair their equipment faster and return it to service more cost effectively than with the off-site analysis system.

For more information, visit

MapScenes Provides Seamless Evidence Mapping in Flint, Michigan

Investigators in the Flint, Michigan, Traffic Division stay busy measuring and mapping crime scenes, since the crime rate in Flint is routinely high.

“We might have 10–20 critical crash scenes a year, but 50–100 critical scenes involving assault crimes where we are actually measuring a scene,” said Sergeant Dave Foryster, a traffic division member.

Foryster maps and diagrams the most extensive scenes. He uses a Sokkia SRX5 fully robotic, single-operator total station with Archer Field PC; MapScenes Evidence Recorder Version 7.0; and MapScenes Forensic CAD software. This small but powerful arsenal of tools is ideal for the variety of crime scenes Foryster maps, which includes bullet casings from shootings; blood spatter; blood pools; bullet trajectories; bodies; and holes in walls, car doors, or inside houses or buildings, among other evidence.

The Sokkia total station reduces the amount of human work necessary; it can quickly shoot a scene of almost 1,500 feet and requires just one operator. Once the total station maps a scene, the Archer Field PC measures the evidence points and sends them to the MapScenes Evidence Recorder attached to the total station. Finally, the points are loaded into the MapScenes Forensic CAD diagramming software, usually in 3-D, to depict compelling scene details.

“I can shoot 500 points in the time it would take two people to shoot 200 points and make a move,” said Foryster. “[And with the drawing program,] you can really do some great things to show different surfaces and how bullets traveled through them or how they may have affected a crash scene.”

For more information, visit

TerraGo Technologies Promotes Critical Information Sharing among Dallas Officers

Communicating current location information to patrol officers is usually a challenge, and the effort becomes even greater during massive special events and unforeseen emergencies.

A good example of this challenge in action happened in Dallas, Texas. In addition to hosting the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 NBA Championship parade, Dallas also was home to the 2011 Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game in 2010. Dallas also annually hosts the State Fair of Texas—the largest in the U.S. by annual attendance—attracting nearly three million people in 2010.

Maps and imagery are among the most critical information distributed and shared throughout the Dallas Police Department when managing these events. Situational awareness enables officers to reach an incident location as quickly as possible, which could ultimately result in preventing a crime, apprehending a lawbreaker, or saving a life during an emergency incident.

The Dallas Police Department partnered with TerraGo Technologies to better leverage the data available in the city’s enterprise geographic information system to quickly put customized maps in the hands of each officer, without having to train the officers on the source system. Producing GeoPDF maps electronically significantly shortens the update cycle to give officers more current, accurate data when covering an event or responding to an incident.

The benefits were immediately apparent—near real-time situational awareness that enhanced response and public safety. The geospatial collaboration software also proved invaluable when the force was deployed to assist in hurricane-impacted areas outside of Dallas.

“GeoPDF maps enabled the Dallas Police Department’s geographic information system to provide command centers and patrols alike easy access and a way to share needed information from traffic management routes to offense locations, as well as overviews of hotels, arenas, hospitals, and other key infrastructure, to help manage even the largest challenges,” said Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal John W. Carr. ■

For more information, visit

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 9, September 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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