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Wireless Technology Takes A Byte Out Of Crime
Thu, 19 Jun 2003, 23:04

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(NAPSI)—Gone are the days when police officers radio the dispatch operator to run checks on drivers and license plates like they did in “Hill Street Blues”. Today, more than 500 police departments have partnered with Verizon Wireless to wirelessly link to local, state and federal databases for at-the-scene information on possible offenders. Information that used to take up to 15 minutes to access is now available in seconds and is transmitted over fully encrypted, secure digital channels.

Using Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) technology, Verizon Wireless provides law enforcement agencies with wireless access to databases. With a few keystrokes law enforcement officers can access vehicle identification numbers, license tags, driver’s license information and criminal information in as little as five seconds. They can also determine immediately if an individual is driving with a revoked license or wanted for another traffic violation or criminal offense, leading to safer streets for community members.

These wireless applications allow police departments to tailor information to its specific needs, bringing about greater efficiency. Agencies that utilize this technology have seen officers run up to 80 license plate background checks per shift—a dramatic increase from the average of only 10 per shift in the old system. And this information is as close as the mobile data terminal in the officer’s police cruiser. The time savings also translates into increased safety for police officers since they can quickly assess a potentially dangerous situation and whether they need back-up support before the officer approaches the car.

The system provides direct access to federal, local, and state databases including the National Crime Information Computer (NCIC), Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) and the Division of Motor Vehicles Services. A number of public safety agencies including the Delaware State Police, Franklin, Tennessee Police Department, Philadelphia Police Department and nearly 100 municipalities throughout New Jersey use Verizon Wireless’ wireless data services.

The community benefits to using CDPD technology in law enforcement are several. By connecting directly to the databases, officers do not have to rely on busy department dispatch operators, who are responsible for many other functions, for critical information. Officers have immediate access to information on potentially dangerous situations, which help them to make smart decisions for their safety and for the safety of the community. Finally, law enforcement communications are also more secure than a radio since messages carried by CDPD are encrypted.

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