Easier Data Entry

By Shelley Solheim  |  Posted 2004-12-06 Print this article Print

"Another thing about the devices the police found useful was that the handheld has a magnetic-card-stripe reader so the drivers license can be swiped, and all of that information appears on the ticket, so that they dont have to enter any of that in; or, for new vehicles, new registration cards have a bar code that gives the [vehicle identification] number, so they can use the infrared scanner to scan that bar code, and they dont need to enter in a cryptic 17-digit number. But with push of a button they have it," he said.

"They have proven very useful. They allow for quicker, more accurate and legible citations. We swipe the drivers license and use infrared to read the bar code of the door of the vehicle, which takes less time and makes for less time lost for the motorist," said Sgt. Paul Accardo, assistant commander for the NOPD public affairs office.

Aside from making the law enforcement workers day easier and safer, the city expects tickets to be processed more easily in the courts.

"One of the main benefits is a decrease in the number of errors made on tickets, so the traffic court is not having to dismiss tickets because they cant read them or the wrong code is on the ticket," said Charbonnet.

As for funding, the COPS Technology Grant was very helpful to the NOPD. "The cost to the city has been next to nothing," he said.

After receiving funding, the project took about two months to execute. During the initial rollout, Infokall was on-site for two weeks and conducted training for the officers.

"Infokall did the training of the initial motorcycle policemen, and they did very focused training on five of them and basically trained them to be trainers. So if new folks come on to the force or we find a need to do retraining, that all can happen internally," said Charbonnet.

In the next phase of deployment, the city plans to extend the application to laptops in 90 of its police cruisers. That phase is awaiting the implementation of a citywide wireless network, a project currently under way. The city is aiming for citywide coverage but may start out initially with a network of Wi-Fi hot spots.

The wireless network will also enable officers using the handhelds to upload data as they go, eliminating the need to upload data in cradles at the end of their shifts.

With Infokalls help, the city is also exploring ways to automate the interface between its citation systems and traffic court so that all the data can be made available to the court in XML or straight-text format without the need for manual data entry, said Charbonnet.

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