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Back to Archives | Back to February 2013 Contents 

February 2013 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.

Brooklyn Center Police Department Uses TurningPoint Software to Improve Training, Communications

The Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Police Department (BCPD) serves a multicultural community of approximately 31,000 on the northwest border of Minneapolis. The BCPD is committed to working with community members to build safer neighborhoods, improving residents’ knowledge of police procedures and laws, increasing officers’ understanding of diverse cultures, and engaging in two-way communication to build trust between officers and residents.

Monique Drier, the BCPD’s community liaison, reports that the use of a software tool, TurningPoint from Turning Technologies, helps department personnel facilitate internal training and external communication while providing valuable data to assist the department in measuring progress toward its engagement goals. TurningPoint is a wireless audience response and polling system that works with Microsoft PowerPoint to enable real-time audience participation and data collection.

“We use TurningPoint to conduct internal training and deliver courses and information sessions at colleges and in community outreach settings,” Drier said. “It’s a great icebreaker in all these scenarios since we can instantly engage with the audience and start a two-way conversation. We also get valuable raw data we can use to gauge community perceptions on safety and the effectiveness of police interactions with the people we serve.”

The BCPD uses TurningPoint in outreach efforts that the department conducts in 17 neighborhood sectors. Drier said the raw data her department extracts from these sessions is also useful for supporting citywide initiatives. TurningPoint polling software directly integrates with PowerPoint but also offers the options to poll with any application using a floating toolbar and conduct self-paced testing. Data is collected in detailed reports exportable to CSV, XLS, and PDF files.

Since the department serves a racially and ethnically diverse community, education and communication are vitally important. TurningPoint is a tool that helps the department fulfill its mission.

For information, visit

Milledgeville Police Department Adopts gtechna’s eCitations and License Plate Recognition Solution

Gtechna, an end-to-end electronic citations integrator, provided the Milledgeville, Georgia, Police Department (MPD) with the first of its kind, pay-per-ticket electronic citations solution bundled with license plate recognition technology (LPR ). As inhabitants of the small city of 17,715, Milledgeville citizens enjoy safe and secure roads due to the MPD’s continual commitment to quality police service. With this in mind, the MPD sought out a solution to the all-too-familiar inefficiencies of manual citation issuance. High personnel costs coupled with a paper trail created an administrative backlog and a steep operational overhead that made traffic enforcement an expensive and not always effective undertaking. In order to improve productivity and maintain the excellence in policing residents have come to know, the MPD chose a solution that would reduce operational costs while increasing efficiency and the safety of its citizens.

Gtechna and the MPD developed a pay-perticket model that allowed the police department to adopt an electronic citations system at no upfront cost and by adding LPR technology to the solution, the benefits were immediate. Two patrol vehicles were outfitted with LPR cameras, a force multiplier that flags motorists with violations such as suspended or expired licenses and expired tags. These types of violations are usually not intercepted unless a routine traffic stop is made.

“As soon as the system was up and running, within only two hours we were able to recover $9,100 from scofflaw violations like unpaid registration,” said MPD Police Chief Dray Swicord. “It was clear from the outset that pay-per-ticket was a low-risk, highly beneficial solution. We did not have the funds, but I believed the technology could bring our agency to the forefront in law enforcement. Now I can confirm that adopting this technology was the right move.”

For information, visit

Fayetteville, North Carolina, Implements Mentor Engineering Fleet and Transit Management System

The city of Fayetteville, North Carolina, has implemented a technology from Mentoring Engineering to address the diverse needs of its transit, police, and fire fleets. The city is working with Mentor Engineering because of the company’s wide range of product offerings.

“Mentor could provide a scalable enterprise solution, not just a transit system, and it could do it all,” said Melissa Coleman, information technology project manager for Fayetteville. “It was also important that the solution be able to expand to other vehicles and departments in the future.”

Mentor Streets Computer-Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location software suite was chosen for the fixed route transit operation. For the Paratransit Fleet, Mentor Engineering provided a custom integration between the rugged Mentor Ranger computers in the vehicles and Trapeze Novus software in the office.

“The system lets the transit dispatchers know where everything is, so if a paratransit client calls wondering where a ride is, the dispatchers can easily look and tell the customer exactly how far away the bus is.”

The public safety fleet, which includes 125 police vehicles and 60 fire trucks, was outfitted with Mentor BBX vehicle tracking devices that provide real-time location information to Mentor Streets and OSSI Public Safety Software in the dispatch office.

Using the vehicle tracking functionality, “We are able to send the closest unit available to save on routing and cut down on response time minutes,” said Coleman. “The system has made the biggest difference in reducing overtime and increasing employee efficiency. And for the emergency responders, it’s all about cutting down on arrival times.” ♦

For information, visit


From The Police Chief, vol. LXXX, no. 2, February 2013. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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