Charles County Sheriff's Office Announces Cruiser Laptop Pilot Program - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles County Sheriff's Office Announces Cruiser Laptop Pilot Program

The Charles County Sheriff's Office has obtained $200,000 in grant funding to equip 17 of its patrol cars with laptops by early 2006, the Sheriff's Office announces. Over the next five years, 280 additional laptops will be installed in patrol cars at a rate of 56 per year.

"I am pleased to offer this technology to our patrol officers and grateful to the Charles County Commissioners for supporting this project because it is an asset to officer safety and it will increase officer efficiency," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "Officers will be able to conduct inquiries independently and without interfering with other police incidents and radio traffic. Most importantly, they will have access to officer safety information in seconds."

The laptops will allow officers to quickly determine if a vehicle is stolen or a person is wanted anywhere in the nation, allowing them to make better informed decisions before they become involved in a potentially dangerous situation. Officers will also be able to link to Motor Vehicle Administration computers to determine the status of all driver's licenses and vehicle registrations.

Officers who have laptops will increase productivity and visibility in the community because they will spend less time in their district station. Officers will no longer need to report to their station for patrol information prior to beginning their tours of duty and they will be able to communicate in real time with officers already on patrol. Officers will also be able to complete their reports and submit them electronically. Studies have shown officers equipped with laptops in their cruisers spend one or two additional hours on patrol, time that would otherwise have been spent doing the same work inside the station.

The laptops will help reduce voice traffic on the radio. In addition to querying systems such as the MVA and National Crime Information Center, officers will be able to independently receive and initiate calls for service, check the status of calls for service in their sectors and surrounding areas, query the Sheriff's Office's records system and obtain mug shots and call location and arrest history. They will also be able to stay abreast of incidents that occurred in their sectors after their last shift.

"We already have patrol officers who are truly committed to protecting our community, and now they will have tools to help them in the performance of their duties," said Sheriff Davis.

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