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Chattanooga PD Deploys Getac Computers to Expand Data Access

August 24, 2009  | 

The Chattanooga Police Department will use 300 Getac laptops to expand data access for officers in the field and increase productivity in the station. Photo courtesy of Getac.

In the law enforcement community, mobility has become one of the most important factors associated with everyday tasks and responsibilities for helping to protect the public. This includes the growing need to gain instant access to mission-critical information via the Internet or department files from anywhere to help patrol officers manage their time in a productive manner while spending more time in the community, protecting its citizens.

The Chattanooga (Tenn.) Police Department needed to upgrade its current mobile PC network to computers that could provide faster access to information, unmatched performance, advanced features, superior security, and reliability. The devices had to be cost-effective and from a company that offers excellent support.

After extensive research, Chattanooga PD chose the Getac B300 and Getac P470 to meet the mobile computing needs of its police officers. These rugged notebook computers provide high-speed wireless access to criminal and background information. Before installing the Getac computers, field officers relied on slower, in-car connections, according to the company.

Using the Getac rugged notebooks and a 3G data service, officers are able to access information up to 20-times faster than their previous solution, which provides officers with real-time access to criminal history, photos and intelligence. This instant access to data is vital to an officer's safety and the increase in speed and bandwidth has allowed the department to deploy additional applications increasing both the safety and productivity of the officers.

Additionally, the Getac B300 and P470 offer enhanced security features such as a built-in TPM 1.2 module, a fingerprint scanner and a smart card reader to provide the ultimate in data protection.

"Through our onsite testing and vendor research we came to the decision to go with Getac, and we are very pleased with that decision," stated Sgt. Charles Brown, Chattanooga PD. "Since we began using the Getac B300 and P470, we have been able to triple the amount of information available to the officers in the field."

The high-speed wireless access and the Intel Core 2 Duo processor featured in both the B300 and P470 also allows for paperless incident reporting, which increases officer productivity while allowing the department to be environmentally conscious. It also provides up-to-the-second information to the Tennessee Crime Portal, which contains vital information on sex offenders and a criminal's background.

Field officers also now have instant access to information on citations, arrests and incident reports in four counties. Having access to such in-depth information was especially useful during the county's recent 14-Day Riverbend Music Festival. The department set-up a satellite office and command center whereby officers on-duty at the festival could access video cameras in various locations around the festival and monitor the festival grounds. With more than 100,000 music lovers attending the festival each day, it was important to have instant access to these cameras and attendee activity as well as programs to help with bookings and warrants.

Durability was another very important feature to the police department. Continued Brown, "Our in-field officers work in an environment where a laptop computer has to withstand constant knocks, drops and vibrations. We had to have good solid quality."

To test the computers' durability, the department threw them down a flight of stairs multiple times. The full magnesium alloy casing and vibration/drop shock resistant technology withstood the rigors of their testing and continued to perform better than competing products. Because of Getac's supreme durability, the Chattanooga Police Department decided to purchase its computers over competing products, despite the fact that other rugged solutions were less expensive.

Other features that are important to the officers are the touch-screen and night-light setting, which gives officers access to important information while working the late shift. The DVD player is also important for classes and instruction.

Thus far, the Chattanooga Police Department has deployed 150 Getac computers and plans to add 150 more. The department plans to add cameras to the Getac laptops and purchase a plate-scan program that can scan for stolen tags and immediately notify officers. It also plans to add an interface that will allow for remote communication with dispatch.

The department's current 3G network will soon be replaced by a high-speed mesh network that will allow for officers to remotely connect to surveillance video cameras placed around the county, which in turns helps officers prevent crime or find criminals.

"Because of the B300 and P470's enhanced performance features, vital criminal information is instantly available, which ultimately helps us improve work performance, save time, save money, expedite solving crimes and ultimately save lives," said Sgt. Brown.

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