July 9, 2004 By Jim McKay, Editor
Info-Cop's compatibility with numerous wireless networks allows agencies nationwide to share information and gather information instantly from crime databases that were traditionally accessed only through a dispatcher. The combination of powerful software and secure, high-speed access to information allows officers to remove the guesswork from potentially dangerous situations.
In addition, the software gives officers the ability to investigate and search multiple sources, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), databases from the FBI and state and regional crime units, and motor vehicle department databases.
Not Just Running a Plate
"It gives us more advanced capability in running a license plate," said Steve Batchelor, patrolman for the Rutherford, N.J., Police Department. "The old system allowed us to run plates and registrations and so forth, but there was not a back end to it. There was no way we could review, at a later date, our stop. Now we're tracking motor vehicle stops for record purposes or production purposes or just for looking for somebody who may have been stopped in town."
With Info-Cop, police can retrace their steps months or years after a traffic stop, which is helpful when officers are called to testify in court. In the past, officers had to order an abstract of motor vehicle stops from a department of motor vehicles prior to a court date and then had to wait for the abstracts to be sent to them. Now officers can get detailed, to-the-second information about any vehicle stop instantly by accessing Info-Cop.
"We would have to get real specific with the department of motor vehicles about what we needed," Batchelor said. "In the interim, people were going the next day and renewing their registration, they were getting their vehicle inspected, and it would come down to 'he-said, she-said'."
Long Arm of the Law
The software gives officers the power of searching records databases, like the NCIC database, for clues on suspicious vehicles. Previously cops contacted dispatch to determine whether there was a warrant for a particular individual and had to rely on dispatch personnel to relay the information, which sometimes took 5 to 10 minutes.
Now officers can search that information themselves and receive information and photos in a couple of seconds.
The virtually platform-agnostic software allows officers to search many different databases and communicate with any agency or department in the country, so long as those agencies are connected to Info-Cop.
To locate a suspect, officers can perform random searches, such as for all white vehicles with license places containing the letter "K," and get a list of all vehicles with registered owners; or typing in six different license-plate numbers. Since every license plate ever run is logged in the system, officers can trace their steps back to an incident and isolate a specific time period as a point of reference in an investigation.
Names of suspects can be run as well, and in New Jersey, fingerprints will soon be run through the system. The software also allows for video images to be captured and stored, which is used in New Jersey as well.
"I've used it on investigations where the Drug Enforcement Administration seized drugs in a house, and they found electronic equipment stored in the basement," Batchelor said. "I ran some of the serial numbers through Info-Cop and got hits on stolen merchandise, which helped us apprehend that person on stolen goods."
The Rutherford Police Department has been using Info-Cop since
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