The Woodward News

December 19, 2011

Technology upgrades for law enforcement

Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — By Alan Riffel

Recently, I wrote about the technological improvements many of the City’s departments have initiated to automate certain tasks and enhance our services. A multi-phase implementation of leading technologies is now ongoing in the Woodward Police Department that is resulting in radical upgrades for local law enforcement.

For more than a month now, 21 patrol units have been equipped with mobile laptop computers utilizing a software program called MobileCop. This program allows officers to run license plates, scan drivers’ licenses, and communicate in real time with many other agencies, including the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Perhaps even more importantly, MobileCop expands the field reporting capabilities of our officers, and interacts with our computer aided dispatch system. Our officers are now able to generate accident and crime scene reports, and file them with the Department of Public Safety, without the need to return to the station to do the mandatory paperwork.

What this means for you is that the overall community safety is increased as our officers will have a stronger presence on the streets. Plus, up-to-the-second alerts of any dangers, such as prison escapees, robbery suspects, stolen cars, or violent criminals heading our way, are being received instantly. Additionally, if you are involved in an accident or the victim of a crime, your reports should be ready for pickup less than an hour from the time of occurrence.

The second phase of this project will incorporate a new program in service only in Oklahoma, called P.A.R.I.S., which stands for Police Automated Report Importing System. This has been tested by the OHP over the past couple of years, and will be released next month. The Woodward Police Department will be the first municipal or county agency in the state to work along with the Highway Patrol in piloting the software.

This program integrates electronic ticketing with accident reconstruction software, and automatically interfaces with the Department of Public Safety and the City of Woodward’s Court Clerk’s office. Again, this eliminates the need for repetitive tasking, and speeds up the time that official reports are available.

The final aspect of the upgrades is the installation of wireless cameras in the patrol units. These new models are activated with lights and sirens, and record all aspects of whatever emergency situation is occurring. Capable of recording all audio and video, both inside the car and outside, the cameras are fully automated. Rather than requiring the officer to remove the flash disk and manually download it to their video server, the system detects the wireless network and spontaneously downloads the information.

All of this new technology is focused on better protecting the public in one of our most critical service areas.

Safety is improved through each of these new features, with faster responses for all calls as a positive outcome. The cost-effective investment represented by these upgrades will demonstrate their value many times over.

Alan Riffel is Woodward’s city manager.