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3 reasons tablets are replacing cruisers’ mounted laptops

Tablets are here to stay. Here are a few reasons why they soon will replace mounted laptops.


The following is paid content sponsored by Xplore Technologies.

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Mounted laptops have been standard operating equipment in police cruisers since the mid-90s. However, more police departments now are considering tablets for improved connectivity and flexibility not only inside the squad car but outside of it as well.

Tablets soon will replace mounted laptops. (Image Xplore Technologies)
Tablets soon will replace mounted laptops. (Image Xplore Technologies)

Here are three major reasons tablets soon will replace mounted laptops in your police cruiser.

Reason 1: They are getting more familiar.

Tablets now are owned by more than half of American households, reaching 54 percent ownership, and for the first time joined the list of top 10 most-owned tech products, said Dr. Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association.

DuBravac said tablets used to be rare, but now are common. He compared usage and design changes to digital cameras as a comparison to where tablets are now. When digital cameras first launched, there were a small number of options and they all looked similar. As the camera market and consumer interest grew, it widened to include new colors, feature sets and more.

“Tablets will naturally fragment… rugged, high-end, affordable, targeted at police and more… and allow the market to self-select for those various use-case scenarios,” DuBravac said.

Indeed, such widespread adoption means police officers are using them often in their personal lives, meaning rugged tablets  just make sense for when they are on their beat as well, said Bob Ashenbrenner, a solutions architect at Xplore Technologies. The Austin-based company makes  MIL-STD-810G certified rugged tablets.

“It’s no surprise that police departments are looking at tablets as an alternative to mounted laptops in police cruisers,” Ashenbrenner said. “They are deliver mobility and keep officers connected in the vehicle and on their beat.”

Reason 2: They let officers capture data more efficiently.

Ashenbrenner said police officers are discovering that rugged tablets let them seamlessly switch between applications such as electronic ticketing and documentation, photo evidence, and ID verification by the swipe of a finger.

This lets an officer document an event using a single, unified view for more accurate incident management records. As a result, officers can capture data more accurately as it uses a commercial technology that most cops are familiar with, Ashenbrenner said.  

He said the tablet speeds documentation, reduces costs associated with lost paperwork and increases access to back-office information. More important, it eliminates unauthorized modification of citations therefore reducing exposure to liability.

“Public safety agencies gain costs savings, improved accuracy and the ability to leverage data more proactively for more secure, effective communication,” Ashenbrenner said.

An IACP report also found when data is captured in the field using a tablet it is of higher quality compared to data entered from manual forms after the fact.

At the same time, field data entry may drastically reduce the amount of time that officers spend writing reports, which is estimated at as much as 20 percent of patrol time.

Reason 3: They keep officers safer.

There is no doubt having access to data outside of the squad car lets officers access information that can help them size up a situation.

Tablet use and officer safety go hand-in-hand, according to the IACP report. The report concluded that a fundamental objective for mobile computing is to provide the officer with a means of determining if persons are wanted or are otherwise a danger to the officer.

“High-speed access to local, state and federal databases provides this capability from the field,” according to the report.

Having real-time access to data also increases officer confidence. The IACP report said the fact information needed by an officer is available on their notebook means they are armed with information anywhere.

“That [information] may mean the difference between deferring the resolution of a problem and solving the problem at the scene,” according to the report.

Widespread adoption by consumers has made the tablet computer a cheaper, more effective choice for police departments.  Having a mobile device safeguards police and the data they gather.

For more information, visit Xplore Technologies.

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