March 10, 2009
Why the Wood County Sheriff’s Department's Decided to go with Gamber-Johnson Vehicle Mounting Solutions
When the Wisconsin Wood County Sheriff’s Department — responsible for protecting and serving nearly 74,000 residents within 800 square miles — was awarded grant funds to implement a mobile computer solution for their fleet, they had to act quickly.
Wood County partnered with Baycom Inc., located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to find a solution. “Because of the grant deadline, we had a compressed time frame in which to work. We immediately conducted a fleet audit to determine what types of vehicles the fleet was using, what equipment was already mounted in those vehicles, what the needs of the entire fleet were now and what they would be in the future,” explains Tim Cooney, Product Manager, Baycom. “The Wood County Sheriff’s Department needed a very flexible mounting solution because of the wide variety of vehicles in their fleet — Impalas, Crown Victorias, Explorers, Trail Blazers and Silverados. Because the officers cover such a large region, geography and road conditions determine what vehicles they drive on a daily basis. And because they drive both on- and off-road, reliability and durability were critical. With so many components we needed to tailor a system that met their needs no matter what type of vehicle they were using.”
“Maglites, rifles, shotguns, printers — we work in a very crowded environment and we have some large guys on our force,” adds Lieutenant Laude when speaking of the challenges of outfitting the Wood County fleet. “We needed something that mounts safely in a very limited space, that was comfortable to use and — because we were first time users — we needed a user friendly system.”
Baycom selected a Gamber-Johnson CF30 docking station system. “When we select a mounting solution,” notes Cooney, “we always look to current and future fleet needs. The Wood County Sheriff’s department will continue to use a wide variety of vehicles and they need the ability to upgrade technology without having to replace mounting solutions. Gamber-Johnson’s bases are designed to specifically fit the footprint of each automobile, which makes them more stable. The remaining parts of the Gamber-Johnson mounting solution — from docking stations to console boxes — are easily interchangeable between vehicles.”
“When other vehicles are brought in to replace older models in the police fleet, everything from light bars to cages and push bumpers have to be replaced,” continues Cooney. “But Gamber-Johnson docking stations can easily be moved from vehicle to vehicle. The Gamber-Johnson CF30 docking station is also built to fit future Panasonic computer upgrades. That means less worry and fewer future expenses for the fleet.”
Having selected the Gamber-Johnson CF30 docking station, Baycom faced a challenge due to the Toughbook testing process. “Gamber-Johnson’s Panasonic docking stations undergo vigorous testing by Panasonic. We knew the CF30 was the perfect fit for Wood County, but we were in a unique position — awaiting final Toughbook Testing approval from Panasonic on the CF30, while having to meet a grant deadline.” Continues Cooney, “Gamber-Johnson stepped in and supplied us with universal PANDOCKS that we could install in order to meet the grant deadline and then easily swap out once the CF30 had received final Toughbook Testing approval. This exceptional service speaks volumes as to why we choose Gamber-Johnson,” adds Cooney.
Cooney credits the Gamber-Johnson website as a great customer relations tool — especially for those users new to mobile technologies. “The website is a phenomenal tool — it helps me see what the mounting solution will look like and provides a visual to share with my customers too”.
Notes Lieutenant Laude, “I’m not a technical guy but Tim made it extremely easy to understand. And the Gamber-Johnson mounting solutions were very easy to use — making it a remarkably easy transition, even for veteran officers. And I can’t say enough about the efforts that were made to get this set up on time. The entire process — writing the grant, receiving approval, training the trainers, applying for state licenses, ordering equipment, installation of the equipment, trials of the installs, training our officers, developing TraCS protocol and going live — only took 10 months. Because Gamber-Johnson met all deadlines and because Baycom helped us with the decisions and training, we were able to make this multi-step process happen in less than a year.”
The installment process was so successful that the effort expanded from three units to another 16. In addition, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department received enough funds to assist three other agencies install mobile computer systems. Lieutenant Laude states, “Everything is working and that says a lot because we share our units between officers, which means that we are always using the Gamber-Johnson equipment.
Notes Lieutenant Laude, “It would be very tough to go back to the way we used to do things because our new system has increased our productivity and has given us peace of mind — it’s made life a lot easier. Instead of having to handwrite citations on the side of the road, we now use Badger TraCs — an electronic citation and crash reporting system — that automatically populates citation forms for us. And our radio modems give us access to the State data system, so we can run the plates of someone we’ve pulled over. Having access to that data in our vehicles helps keep us safer — the more we know before we approach a vehicle, the better.”
Another advantage to the Gamber-Johnson mobile mounting solution is the ability to interface with various communication and data devices and remain connected with dispatch. Explains Cooney, “Gamber-Johnson docking stations are designed to fit the exact footprint of a specific computer — which means you can drive on rugged roads and not worry that your connections will come loose and render your laptop useless.”
Learn more about how Gamber-Johnson can help your department with its vehicle mounting solutions at www.gamberjohnson.com.
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