A new mobile data system serving Berks County, Pa., will provide police officers from 44 law enforcement agencies with instant access to vital crime information in their vehicles, increasing their efficiency, productivity and safety. The system incorporates PacketCluster(R) Patrol(TM) mobile software from Cerulean Technology(R) and the Padcom(R) TotalRoam(TM) routing platform.
Cerulean's wireless mobile software, running on a cellular digital packet data (CDPD)-based AT&T Wireless service via Padcom's routing platform, will allow Berks County to more efficiently and safely respond to emergency calls for more than 350,000 people across 840 square miles.
In the first phase of the project, Berks County will use PacketCluster Patrol's standards-based application with the TotalRoam routing platform to wirelessly link laptop computers mounted in more than 100 patrol vehicles with information from Berks County's computer aided dispatch (CAD) system, departmental records management systems (RMS) and state and national criminal and motor vehicle databases. More than 200 vehicles will be equipped with the mobile data solution by the time the project is completed, enabling instant uninterrupted access.
"Direct access to critical and possibly life-saving data will enable police officers to check on potentially dangerous people, places and things much more quickly," said Michael J. Spear, president of the Berks County Police Chiefs Association. "Using PacketCluster Patrol and TotalRoam, our officers won't need to wait for information from dispatchers. As a result, they'll be more likely to run wanted person or license plate checks. This will mean more bad guys off of the street and fewer officers in the line of fire."
In addition, the new wireless solution will provide Berks County with access to a records management system, multiple databases and automatic vehicle location (AVL) capabilities. The solution also supports the migration to and development of next-generation wireless services, including enhanced voice, imaging, high-speed data and Internet access. Moreover, TotalRoam and PacketCluster support the addition of external devices such as digital cameras, breathalyzers and scanners.
Through Cerulean's partnership with AT&T, the Berks County Communications Center will use AT&T Wireless CDPD service to instantly connect laptops via Padcom's TotalRoam to each department's patrol vehicles. Officers will use PacketCluster Patrol to query law enforcement databases for case history and vehicle and driver registration information. The solution will also link officers with their own department's computer system.
With AT&T's high-speed CDPD infrastructure, Berks County avoided building a proprietary radio infrastructure, eliminating a time-consuming and costly project. As a result, it took the project team less than six months to develop a new communications system, rather than two or more years.
Impact of replacing voice dispatch with PacketCluster/TotalRoam mobile solution
Before Cerulean and Padcom, police officers from the 44 agencies across the county relied on a radio dispatcher for access to local, state and national crime databases. At times, officers had to wait several minutes for potentially life-saving information, such as addresses, license plate and wanted person data from dispatchers as each inquiry was received by radio and typed into a computer terminal. This deterred officers from making routine inquiries or following up on traffic stops, which in many cases results in criminals going undetected and the safety of officers being compromised.
Now, officers will be able to make immediate arrests using real-time information. It will also eliminate competition among patrol officers for radio frequency and dispatcher time. With instant access to criminal data via PacketCluster Patrol and TotalRoam, officers can work independently, make on-the-spot decisions and operate more efficiently and safely.
"Law enforcement comprises about 85 percent of our public safety function, and probably has the most critical need for mobile computing capabilities," said Craig S. Breneiser, director of the Berks County Communications Center. "I think the primary benefit will be the range of data an officer can access very quickly. He will also not need to 'compete' with his fellow officers for the time of the telecommunicator who must now manually input every request."
PacketCluster and TotalRoam enable silent dispatch of sensitive information
Berks County also needed a wireless information solution that would enable it to prevent criminals from accessing critical data. PacketCluster Patrol automatically encrypts information before transmission, assuring officers silent communication between the center and patrol vehicle. This will allow them to securely transfer sensitive data and request calls for quick emergency back up.
"PacketCluster's inherent ability to scale to meet the needs of counties and large agencies was an important capability Berks County needed in a mobile solution," said David Rosi, vice president of marketing at Cerulean. "By deploying the system within a short timeframe, we were also able to meet the county's budgetary and time constraints, and provide officers with immediate results. Armed with the latest wireless technology, Berks County will enhance the safety of officers protecting hundreds of thousands of residents, while increasing efficiency and productivity."
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