Office on wheels: Police laptops bring info. to the car’s front seat

By KAYLA MATZKE, News-Record Writer

Officers with Gillette's Police Department officially are scrapping desk work back at the office and setting up shop in their patrol cars.

New technology that's been in the planning stages since the beginning of the year now is in full use.

Officers are using laptops in each of their patrol vehicles, officially bringing their desk into the front seat.

It's everything in one little pack. This is like having an office at your fingertips,” said Cpl. Jason Marcus.

Rather than having to come back to the office to file reports, officers can just pull over on the road, making them more visible in Gillette's city streets.

A GPS system allows them to see the location of other patrol units in the city and if they are responding to a call. The system also gives the officers alerts and shows them where they need to be for backup.

Everything is at officers' fingertips. They even can print documents and file accident reports.

This just gives us so much more,” Marcus said.

It also cuts down on the briefing time officers have when they start their shift, he said.

Traffic on the radio has decreased, too. Instead of having to ask dispatch to repeat alerts over the air because they couldn't hear it or they were talking to someone, officers can just hit their touch-pad laptop screens.

Radios still will be used just as they were for officers who are on foot and out of their cars.

We will still dispatch over the radio,” he said.

The software from Spillman Technologies cost $170,000 and the laptops were $275,000. The program runs off a cell card that comes from Alltel's network.

More upgrades are coming with new technology, which has been implemented in phases. In the coming months the police department will be connected with the FBI's National Crime Information Center, so they will be able to check national warrants.

A speech text program is another part of the system the department hopes to have, where officers could read or formulate reports by speaking to the computer.

The technology tracks how many calls the department responds to each day and the data system tracks information like where the most car crashes occur in the city.

It helps us plan where we're at and form strategies,” said Police Chief Richard Adriaens.

Gillette is on top of its game when it comes to the latest technology for law enforcement.

Not many police departments the size of Gillette have this sort of technology, Marcus said.

Read the original story here.