Stories from the Edge: Troy Police Department Says Tablets Ensure Officers are “Always Available”
Mobile technology has also empowered police officers to close out investigations faster and become more proactive in the community.
Sergeant Sam Carello of the Troy New York Police Department remembers when police work was done sans technology. A nearly 40-year veteran of the force, he can attest to how much harder it was for officers to do their jobs and how much longer it took to complete simple tasks, such as issuing a single parking ticket. Inefficient, paper-based processes became a burden to officers, prolonging the amount of time it took to close out an investigation or file an incident report. As a result, it was rare to find officers taking proactive law enforcement measures.
Fortunately, that has changed in the last few years, and Sergeant Carello says that officers – and the community – have Zebra rugged tablets to thank. Watch this video:
“Respond and Resolve” Isn’t the Only Priority for Police
Crime prevention is just as important to public safety as incident response. Yet, it is difficult for police officers to increase community relations activities and engage in proactive law enforcement when they are constantly bogged down in paperwork and only “available” to react to incoming calls.
That is one of the main reasons why the Troy Police Department decided to arm its officers with lightweight Zebra rugged tablets that have been purpose built for (and with) public safety professionals.
The department wanted to give both patrol officers and detectives a mobile computer that could be taken out into the field and used to quickly issue tickets and complete reports in the field, in real time. By streamlining “paperwork” tasks via digital forms, officers have found it easier to be proactive in the community and respond to lower priority calls in a timely fashion.
The tablets also help units to know what’s happening around them, which is especially valuable when they’re trying to coordinate response efforts for multiple calls or with partner agencies. The actionable intelligence shared by dispatch and other responders, and the instant accessibility to agency information systems, enable officers to better assess every situation they face. As a result, they can anticipate the implications of certain actions and make an informed decision about the next best action to take to prevent escalation of certain situations and ultimately resolve the issue.
However, facilitating this level of real-time situational awareness is only possible when officers are properly mobilized, which the Troy Police Department knows all too well. That’s one of the other main reasons why it opted for Zebra rugged tablets versus other mobile computer form factors.
There’s a Big Difference Between “Mobility” vs. “Portability”
Before switching to Zebra’s XSLATE® R12 rugged tablets in 2016, Troy Police Department officers found their “mobile” computing capabilities restricted to their patrol vehicles. The notebooks that were mounted in their center consoles could technically be removed, but these “mobile data terminals” (MDT) were so large and cumbersome that they were difficult to carry and use while walking and working. In other words, they weren’t really mobile at all. As a result, officers found themselves having to retreat to their vehicles every time they wanted to run a driver’s information during traffic stops or complete incident reports for other types of calls.
They also had to rely on two-way radios to communicate with dispatch and other responders, which poses a whole other set of problems due to jammed channels and the risk of miscommunication, as explained in this case study.
So, when Sergeant Carello came across the Zebra rugged tablets at an industry tradeshow, he immediately petitioned to purchase several for his agency. Police officers need truly mobile computers if they are to be available to protect and serve their communities and remain fully effective while on the front lines, and he was determined to give his officers what they needed.
As he explained in the video and case study, officers – whether responding to emergency or routine calls – now carry the tablets onto the scene to retrieve the information they need to handle the call and submit a disposition right then and there. They can take witness statements and capture crime scene photos while simultaneously keeping dispatch and other units appraised of their status.
The resulting efficiency gives the Troy Police Department a performance edge that, in turn, benefits the entire community. And that’s just the start of the “total benefits of ownership” that police officers receive from rugged tablets.
You can read about the others in the Troy Police Department case study, in other Your Edge government blogs and on the Zebra website.
If you will be attending IWCE 2020, make plans to attend Sergeant Carrello’s presentation on the Troy Police Department’s officer mobility strategy:
Case Study on the Impact of Real-Time Data for Policing
Tuesday, 03/31/2020: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm
Session Number: T32
Then stop by Zebra booth #1542 to learn more about the rugged tablets that the police department, as well as other public safety professionals, are using in the field.
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