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Police in Eastern Iowa Use Satellite Technology to Fight Crime

June 30, 2002
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Police in Eastern Iowa Use Satellite Technology to Fight Crime

Associated Press

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) - Police in this eastern Iowa city are using satellite technology to fight crime.

Using an automatic vehicle locator system, dispatchers with the Bettendorf Police Department can locate where squad cars are at all times and print out the routes police have taken.

"It is a safety device for citizens because we can send the closest squad to the location of a call," said Police Chief Phil Redington.

The department used a $73,500 local law enforcement block grant to purchase the system, which uses global positioning satellite technology.

Redington said the system also provides officers extra safety components.

"It also has a safety feature that if a squad gets in an accident and an airbag is deployed, it sends an alarm back to the station."

The Scott County Sheriff's Department has used the locator system for about a year. Capt. Mike Brown said the system shows every road in the county and keeps track of the 25 squad cars.

"One of the reasons we got it is for safety reasons," Brown said. "If an officer were to call for help, we can see them immediately. It also helps in pursuit situations, if that were to take place. You can direct other officers to those areas quickly."

Brown said the system refreshes itself every quarter-mile a vehicle travels or in increments every few seconds.

The Davenport department doesn't have satellite technology that shows the location of cars. But it does have a system that shows what's happening with each car, which has helped a lot of investigations, said police Capt. David Struckman.

Bettendorf police Capt. Greg Adamson said some officers expressed concern about being under the watch of a dispatch center at all times.

But Adamson and Brown said their officers are OK with the system now that it's up and running.

"It is a safety device for them, and most officers accepted it pretty well and find it can be helpful," Brown said.

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