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Local law enforcement will soon have in-car laptops

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 10:11 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 10:12 a.m. CDT

Local law enforcement will soon be carrying something more than 9 millimeters and handcuffs.

As early as this fall, city and county law enforcement officers will be equipped with in-car laptops. The laptops — also referred to by police as mobile data terminals — will be located in the passenger seat of police vehicles, and software called Tac 10 will be installed on them.

“It’s cutting edge software,” Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer said of Tac 10. “It’s being used currently by Warren, Johnson and Washington counties. We’ve went on site visits to some of those agencies to see how it works and everyone we spoke with said — after the initial learning curve — Tac 10 works exceedingly well for their agency.”

There will be six laptops purchased. They will be shared by on-duty city and county law enforcement officers and each will have Tac 10 installed.

Tac 10 is web-based software and will allow officers to connect to the law enforcement server and access mug shots, prior reports/incidents and call cards on the subject from their in-car laptop.

The system also allows officers to scan driver’s licenses and registrations. Once scanned, the information on that license can be autofilled onto the citation/accident report — cutting down on the amount of time officers spend on paperwork.

“It takes me about 20 to 25 minutes to complete an accident report with our current system,” Ver Meer said. “With Tac 10, we will be able to cut that time in half. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but on a snowy day when accident reports are piling up, it can save a lot of time.”

Tac 10 also comes with a printer, and citations/tickets can be printed out and given directly to the subject at the scene. Ver Meer said Tac 10 will definitely be a time saver for local law enforcement officers.

“This will absolutely increase efficiency,” Ver Meer said. “The system we have right now is about 20 years old. It was time for an upgrade. With Tac 10 — as far as modern technology — we are catching up with the curve and surpassing it all at once. This is not something I should have to worry about the rest of my career. It should not need to be updated for another 20 years.”

Mapping software will also be installed on the laptops. The mapping software will allow dispatchers and officers the ability to see where every law enforcement vehicle is in the area — including state troopers — which will make for quicker response times.

Ver Meer said Tac 10 has the capability of emailing an e-ticket to the clerk of court, which will be helpful whenever the office goes digital. That could happen as early as 2015.

Cost

The total cost of Tac 10 including hardware is expected to be about $160,000. That will be split 50/50 between the Creston Police Department and Union County Sheriff’s Office. Ver Meer said this change has been in the works for several years, so they will be able to make a sizeable down payment in the neighborhood of $60,000.

The remaining cost will be financed over four years. Ver Meer said there will be no interest on the financing.

“We really appreciate the city and county coming together to work on a project like this,” Ver Meer said.

Ver Meer and Union County Chief Deputy Steve Maitlen have spearheaded this project. They said they will use a stairstep approach in implementing Tac 10.

The first step is converting data from the old system to Tac 10. Then, dispatchers and officers will receive training on Tac 10. Maitlen said the hope is to feel comfortable enough with Tac 10 by August so laptops can be installed in the vehicles in August or September.

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