County police to test in-car computer terminals Eastern District to get Westinghouse gear PASADENA

October 01, 1993|By Jody Roesler | Jody Roesler,Contributing Writer

Eastern District police officers won't say 10-4. They won't call in license and registration information. They won't have to write or remember 911 information while speeding to a robbery-in-progress.

They won't even have to do hours of paperwork after their shifts.

No, the officers are not getting laid-off or lazy. They are getting four "Smart Cars" from Westinghouse, to be tested and evaluated over the next year, beginning next week.

The Smart Car is a standard police cruiser equipped with a computer connection with other Smart Cars, several law enforcement data bases and the dispatcher. It will enable patrol officers to get motor vehicle, warrant and criminal record information at the touch of a button.

The Eastern District was chosen as a testing ground for the system because it responds to the most calls of the four county districts, said Karl Holub, Westinghouse Public Safety Systems program manager.

The system will be installed in three stages a month to six weeks apart, said Smart Car Program Manager Paul Freedman.

"For one, Westinghouse wants to get the most out of the testing," he said. "And for two, we didn't want to dump a big pile of things in the police's lap and say go ahead with it."

In the first stage, the cars will get the "data base query capability," Mr. Freedman said. Smart Car computers will be connected with motor vehicle, county, state and federal crime data bases.

"We'll be able to access criminal histories, check outstanding warrants from other states, check driving records and registration, and check for stolen cars," said Lt. Bill Tankersley of the Eastern District. "The system will also have alert. If we run a criminal history and the person is on parole or probation, the system will have a caution note."

The cars will get electronic dispatching and automated report generation in the second stage, providing officers with information about incoming calls.

Under the present system, Lieutenant Tankersley said, 911 operators take information from callers and key it into the dispatcher's computer system. The dispatcher calls an officer and relays the information over the radio.

"The dispatcher may have to compress information or may misread information over the radio," Mr. Freedman said. "And the officer has to remember the information or write it down, while now he sees the same information on the screen and can save it on his computer."

After the call is done, the officer can generate his report, in the comfort of his squad car. "It will expedite report generation, improve efficiency, and hopefully eliminate errors," Mr. Freedman said.

The third stage will include Hot Sheet, or electronic roll call, information. Roll call includes assignments, cautions about dangerous areas, and "be on the look out for" information. Mr. Freedman said officers will be able to get that information from the computer when they get in the car at the beginning of their shifts.

The cars will also get electronic mail service between cars and between dispatchers and cars.

The monitors and keyboards will be installed in four 1992 Ford Taurus patrol cars next week. They will be used on three of the department's four shifts.

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