Law enforcement is going high tech. Pretty soon, the state of Alabama will be the first in the nation, where all law enforcement officials will be able to access criminal justice data from any mobile device.
Every time a police officer makes a traffic stop, they have to relay information to the local dispatch center so that someone there can check a persons background.
But soon officers will be able to do those background checks and update the system on their own.
A new software program called the “Voyager Secure Wireless Data Platform,” will give law enforcement officials instant access to criminal justice information through their laptops, digital assistants or even cell phones.
The software was purchased by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, and is now available for all of the 15-thousand sworn officers in the state.
Lynn Childs, a spokesperson for the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center says, "We purchased this technology for all law enforcement agencies in the state. That includes your local police, your sheriff's department, your county, municipal and state agencies."
Using the new platform here in Dothan will mean switching from a 12 year old system, to one that's much more user-friendly.
"It's more or less going to be a windows operating system, its going to be more accessible and more user friendly," said Officer Brian Smith, of the Dothan Police Department.
The new program will also make it safer for officers out on the street, when they get ready to pull someone over.
Corporal Brian Smith, of the Dothan Police Department says, "If you have information that somebody you just stopped or somebody you are about to stop has a violent tendency or some type of violent past, it's going to affect how you deal with that person."
In order to use this new technology, the city of Dothan is working on building a wireless network that can be accessed from anywhere in the city.
"What we have right now is one access point that we've used for testing purposes... When we're finished we'll have nine points strategically placed around Dothan, and cover about 95 percent of Dothan's acreage," said Tim Stewart, the information technology manger for the City of Dothan.
Once that is finished all that will be left to do, is buy the software along with new laptop computers and install them.
City officials say the funding for the new software will end up costing close to half a million dollars, and they hope to have all patrol units using the new software within the next two years.
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