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May 22, 2012
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John Rivera Technology Helpdesk
with John Rivera

Magically scan documents and photos on patrol

The next step in reprographic technology comes in the form of a magic wand

Back in the early 70s, my grandmother was an English teacher at a public school in Puerto Rico. I would meet her after I got out of school and frequently would help her print lesson plans and tests on an AB Dick mimeograph machine.

This was a very messy process where you would put a dark-colored stencil on a roller filled with ink and turn a handle that would feed plain paper through the roller.  The ink-filled roller would transfer the print though the stencil when the handle was turned thus resulting in a printed page. 

Why I am giving you a history lesson in printing? Because I recently purchased what I believe should be a requirement for every officer.  At the very it should be readily available at any agency supervisor’s office.

Scanning Magic
My purchase was a VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand.  No, it’s not a wand you can wave and solve all your pending investigations.  This handheld device allows you to scan a document or photo, store it on a SD Micro card as a “JPEG” image, and later view the scanned document or photo at your convenience.  This is done via a USB cable you connect to your PC, or, through the required Micro SD card you can easily install (and uninstall) a separate card reader to view.

The VuPoint handheld scanner is handy because it is totally portable and can be stored in any patrol bag without fear of breaking.  It only requires two AA batteries, a preliminary format scan, memory card format, setting the internal time and you’re ready to scan.

The instructions are very simple, and it only took me 15 minutes to properly set up the handheld scanner.  Another feature included in the packaging is a durable vinyl pouch, a USB cable, and a software package that allows you to edit scanned documents on your personal computer.

The software is not required if you just want it to scan documents or photographs. You simply connect it to the computer of your choice and the computer will recognize it as VuPoint. Once this is complete you can view the images as you would any images taken from a digital camera.

The Micro SD card is not included and must be purchased separately.

The scanner will scan in black and white or color using two different DPI (Dots per square inch) settings to scan from, 600 or 900. The 900 DPI setting is available but would take more space than anything scanned in 600 DPI.

Example Scenario
A few days ago, the VuPoint scanner helped me at a call. I was dispatched to a call where fraudulent checks were written at a business. The reporting party possessed the fraudulent checks and required bank documentation but did not have a printer at her business. 

I scanned the documents and later printed them at out office. I also scanned the party’s driver’s license so I could have her information. The printed documents were impressively clear and in color. The driver’s license scan was just as impressive. It was completely clear, with no smudges or shadowing.

I’m sure some of you have found yourselves in my predicament as well, where there was a document or photo you required for your report at a time and place where there was no printer or copier available. Like me, you’ve probably taken digital photos of documents, and if your experience has been like mine, the results are often fuzzy, making it very difficult to read the necessary print on the page. 

This handheld scanner may help solve some of those issues because it scans a clear copy of a document is just that, a scanner. I believe this scanner is a useful tool in our ever growing tool bag.

Next Gen Tech
Since the days of the mimeograph machine we have progressed to fax machines that at first were the size of washing machines and are now frequently intergraded with your home computer printer. Printers too, now come in all shapes and sizes.

Then next step in reprographic technology comes in the form of a magic wand. 

Until next time,
Stay Safe.

About the author

John Rivera is a Patrol Officer with the Bremerton Police Department. John’s career BPD started as a Volunteer Reserve Officer and while he volunteered his time as a reserve officer he work as Police Officer at Naval Base Kitsap. He was hired full time in 2006 and attended the Washington State Police Academy. While at the academy, John was selected as the class “Techy” to help with the technologically deficient class instructors. Before John’s law enforcement career, he gained his computer experience through earning a degree in Computer Programming and then working in the computer industry as a Network Administrator and Systems Engineer for several companies.

Contact John Rivera

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