New Generation of Ruggedized Tablets Increase Efficiency for Officers
By Michael Cayes
Mooring Tech, Inc.
This article is provided by Mooring Tech, Inc. and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of PoliceOne.
As technology evolves, instant access to every knowable piece of information has been placed in the hands of consumers. This access comes via apps for phones and tablets, as well as specialized mobile sites that make accessing the internet from a mobile device faster and easier than ever before.
In spite of this, there is one notable sector that is just starting to benefit from the flood of information-grabbing apps; law enforcement. Alex Jaffurs, an officer with the Broussard Police Department in south Louisiana, recently reported that “I have spent half my shift or more doing paperwork if my previous shift was busy.” That half-shift was valuable time that he was away from the area he was supposed to be patrolling.
Thankfully, the last year has seen a rollout of applications that put information in the hands of the officers that need it – no matter where they are. There is a shift occurring from mounted, in-car laptops to more portable and streamlined tablets. In April 2013 the Constabulary Police of Hampshire began using a Windows 8 Lenovo Tablet 2 on duty; by October of the same year, they claim to have saved the equivalent of 40 work days just by taking statements on the tablets. Alex Jaffurs, an officer with the Broussard Police Department in south Louisiana, reported that “I have spent half my shift or more doing paperwork if my previous shift was busy.”
Just as consumers have seen in the civilian technology market, the race is on between the Apple and Microsoft operating systems. While the iPad’s lightweight design is highly valued in normal consumer markets, it can quickly become a liability in a field where technology may need to be tossed aside in case of pursuit or attack. The same problem occurs with standard Windows Tablets. The operating system itself is more widespread and compatible with more software, but standard tablets are only meant to endure small shocks and drops.
In response to this problem, companies like Mooring Tech Inc. supplies heavy-duty ruggedized tablets. Starting at $1,195, Panasonic Toughpads can face anything an officer can in the line of duty. One tablet, the Toughpad FZ-M1 7-inch Windows Fully-Rugged comes standard with an 8MP back camera, a 720p webcam, and a mic, so pictures and audio statements can be taken on scene, instead of requiring a trip back to the station. A built-in magstrip reader makes it impossible for anyone without a police badge to gain access to the tablet.
Toughpads can also be customized with either a Windows or an Android operating system, giving police departments a full arsenal of software that is compatible with either. For example, DataDriven has developed Watson, a fully-compliant reporting software that allows field officers to log evidence, accidents, tickets, and other notes from patrol. Watson works with both Windows and Android, and it can be used on laptops, tablets, and compatible phones. Together, these developments in hardware and software are making it possible for police to spend less time bogged down by administrative duties, and more time serving and protecting.