One of the biggest selling points for Rugged Notebooks' new Eagle model computer system is its security system, which will help agencies comply with new federal regulations for access to criminal justice databases.
Under the most recently published FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) security guidelines, all systems accessing National Crime Information Center (NCIC) data must comply with new advanced user authentication requirements. Both desktop and notebook computers used to access NCIC, including computers used in patrol vehicles, must comply with these guidelines.
"With the FBI issuing new compliance guidelines for NCIC access, many smaller police departments and law enforcement agencies are under tremendous pressure to find a solution that fits their budgets," says Alan Shad, president of Rugged Notebooks.
Shad illustrates his point by discussing the experience of one of Rugged Notebooks' customers: the Limestone County (Texas) Sheriff's Office.
Last year, the brass of the Limestone County SO learned of the new guidelines from their IT expert. Subsequently, Lt. Lee Cox was given the task of finding rugged computer systems that complied with the new guidelines. He also had to find those systems on a budget.
So he started his search by typing in "affordable rugged notebooks" into his browser. "I looked at pretty much every provider there was for ruggedized laptops but none of them had the solution we were looking for," says Cox. "And then I found Rugged Notebooks."
Cox says he chose the Rugged Notebooks Eagle model because its fingerprint scanner security was included in the purchase price and designed into the system instead of as an option.
"It saved us money and allowed us to purchase more laptops because the budget was able to go farther," Cox says. "Originally, we were only going to get it for the street deputies, but we were able to outfit everyone. We purchased 24, including notebooks for the sheriff, the detectives, our narcotics, and the regular patrol guys-we purchased one for every single vehicle that is in operation."
The fingerprint scanner security system in the agency's new Rugged Notebooks Eagle laptops allows Limestone County deputies to gain access to vital information in the field. It also seals that information behind a secure wall and protects the county from potential liability and litigation should the data fall into the wrong hands.
"It's about getting the best information to the place it's needed in time to use it," says Gary Beckman of Rugged Notebooks. "It's also about keeping it from being misused in ways that might harm innocent people or cause legal issues to get in the way of justice."
The Limestone County SO patrol deputies have found the computers to be extremely effective on the job and have had no issues with the biometric access controls. Cox says access to the NCIC database in the field has been particularly useful.
"If we're on a call and we identify someone and dispatch is backed up with other calls, that person could walk off and slip away amid the chaos on scene," Cox says. "However, if we're able to check them right then and there, the deputies know instantly without having to wait on dispatch and they can go ahead and secure that person who might be a danger to the public."
The Rugged Notebooks Eagle laptop has built-in biometric access control, is ruggedized to MIL-STD-810F, and is Windows 7 compatible. CPU options include a powerful Intel Core Duo 2.8GHz processor. Memory options include up to 8GB of RAM and a variety of hard storage media. The display is a patented and true transflective sunlight 14.1-inch WXGA or WXGA+ display. Options include touchscreen operation, sunlight readable display, and fully encrypted hard drive.