Programs putting more information in Officers' hands – and fast

Implementing new technologies to gather information will cut the amount of time and resources used when the officer has to exit a field

By Michael Cayes

Mooring Tech, Inc.

This article is provided by Mooring Tech, Inc. and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of PoliceOne.

So many times for so many officers, a twelve-hour patrol shift becomes an 8-10 hour patrol shift with the remaining hours spent logging and searching for information at the station. When they have to make an arrest or bring suspects into the station for questioning, time in the field gets even shorter.

The solution is to implement technologies that can be used to gather information, in the hopes that these devices and programs will cut the amount of time and resources used when an officer has to exit the field. Realistically, this also benefits citizens. How many people have been pulled in for questioning and lost hours of their day because they resembled a suspect in a crime, or because the officer didn’t have proper information-gathering resources in the field?

IBM has been marketing a software called i2 COPLINK since the mid-1990’s. It is intended for use at the station, and has historically required high up-front capital investment, plus continued high cost of IT maintenance. This year, IBM rolled out the new i2 COPLINK, and it has gotten quite a facelift. Now COPLINK is available as a service as a subscription (SAAS) product, with a cloud data storage option. The cloud capability increases, not just the amount of data that can be stored, but the potential to share data easily between jurisdictions. Having a cloud server means the software is capable of being implemented on in-cruiser devices, as IBM has rolled out a compatible mobile application as well. There are already over 6,000 departments around the country using COPLINK; we can speculate that those numbers will rise with the new and more affordable subscription system.

“The top three benefits for me are speed, depth of information, and value,” noted David Shipley, Adams County Sheriff and user of the COPLINK system.

The new user interface of i2 COPLINK is being touted as easier to use as well; it now shows criminal history, aliases, crime types, crime locations and facial recognition on one integrated page. COPLINK is just one of many systems in use around the country, but it serves as an excellent example of the way technology is moving forward in the field to help officers perform their jobs more efficiently and quickly.

In that same vein, last fall the NYPD rolled out their plan to begin integrating rugged tablets from Panasonic into day-to-day operations. These tablets come equipped the ability to take fingerprints and pull up criminal history in the field. The announcement was made in the midst of a press conference on counter-terrorism measures, and Mayer Bill DeBlasio was visibly excited when he said, “You can literally, with this technology, take a fingerprint on a street corner...It’s going to simplify and make more efficient the work that people in law enforcement do.”

And he’s absolutely right.

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