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Future of Law Enforcement: Laptop Computers

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 55 Issue: 5 Dated: (May 1988) Pages: 28-30
M R Birchler
Date Published
3 pages
This article points out that the use of laptop computers by police departments is effective and efficient and can only increase over time.
Many police executives and administrators are intimidated by computers and reluctant to use computer technology in police work. However, progressive police administrators have hired consultants to help them computerize their departments, recognizing that the computerization of a police department is a long-term project. Laptop computers that are small and portable enough to be used in patrol cars are particularly well-suited to police work. They can be used by police officers in preparing reports; they can be programmed to aid in investigations, in prisoner identification, and in compiling arrest histories. They can even be used in the courtroom. Combining the use of primary microcomputers with laptop computers is particularly promising for police departments, provided that certain problems are recognized. Floppy disks in microcomputers and laptop computers may not be compatible, and it may be necessary to use adapters. Second, laptop computers have limited memories. Earlier problems associated with laptops -- staff training costs, poor quality hardware, and incompatible software -- have been overcome. Police departments in St. Petersburg, Fl., and in Colorado, Texas, and Kentucky are now using laptops in their operations. When laptops are used in conjunction with a microcomputer, they can improve data entry, keep officers on the street, and increase efficiency. 7 footnotes.


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