Fallon police unveil new communication tool

By Michael Maresh
LVN Staff Writer

Fallon Police officers no longer have to return to the police department to write reports because they have the capability to do them from patrol cars.

All five FPD patrol cars are equipped with laptop computers, and officers have a myriad of information at their fingertips and can receive e-mailed information from supervisors and dispatch.

When an e-mail message is received, officers hear a tone from the system in their vehicles to tell them of a received message.

The program, part of Spillman Mobile Messages, allows the police department to send messages and alerts without having to broadcast information over radios.

Glenda Dockery, records communication supervisor for the FPD, said officers log on to the computer from their patrol cars to see what calls are pending and to see where other patrolmen are located. She said contact between them is easier.

It's helpful if officers want to keep track of others,” Dockery said, adding they call up Department of Motor Vehicle photos when initiating traffic stops for officer safety and to eliminate mistaken identities. Patrol cars are also equipped with printers for officers' reports.

Dockery said a few employees on the force were pessimists on the new technology until learning its benefits.

They like having the ability to look at things,” she said. We are all visual. It helps them do their job.”

Dockery said a benefit for officers is not having to search for directions on calls for service. How to find locations for service appears on the computer screen. She stressed high priority calls and pursuits are still done through the radio rather than on the computer and Internet.

There are times when the radio will be their lifeline,” she said.

Dispatchers also have the ability to see exactly where officers' vehicles are and know which unit to send to a service call.

Police Chief Kevin Gehman said the biggest benefit is having officers type their reports in the field. The report can be sent immediately to sergeants and other supervisors for review. He said the end result is officers have more time being out on the streets rather than spending time at the precinct.

FPD Officer Dwayne Macie said the new technology makes his job easier and added it's nice to write incident reports in the patrol car.

It cuts down on radio traffic. It streamlines how we do our job,” Macie said.

Capt. Vern Ulrich said officers share photos of missing persons and suspects with a click of the mouse.

Spillman is absolutely essential for the day-to-day operations,” he said. It is freeing up additional time for officers.”

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