LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Police Department wanted a way to maximize efficiency, accuracy and public safety. The department will implement software and ruggedized handheld computers to enable police officers in vehicles or on foot to collect critical law enforcement data and communicate with police stations and centralized databases as they move throughout the department's citywide network.

The software, Vytek's ProfilerPD, uses a secure, high-speed 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless local area network to allow officers equipped with the Symbol handheld computer to collect and upload traffic stop data, such as a motorist's age and gender. The information is collected electronically, thereby reducing errors by eliminating the use of paper, while still ensuring complete records.

In the second phase of the project, LAPD plans to implement electronic traffic ticket software. Using the handhelds, officers will be able to create and print traffic citations on mobile printers while in the field.

"With the use of ruggedized devices and field-proven software, the LAPD officer can quickly and reliably enter and upload required data to the database from the field, eliminating data collection and transposition errors, while also providing important field information to the LAPD's operational staff," said Lt. Anita McKeown of the LAPD's Information and Communication Services Bureau.

Vytek and Symbol anticipate that officers using the handheld computer will need no more than 30 seconds to capture appropriate traffic stop data. This represents a significant time savings over the current method of capturing information: Now officers use a paper-based system to collect the data before it is handed off to additional personnel for data entry. This paper-based system is often slow and leads to inaccurate data collection.

The software is expected to improve the department's efficiency, accelerate accurate report preparation and assist in compliance with the Department of Justice's Consent Decree that addresses racially biased policing by law enforcement officers. The consent decree requires information to be collected from all motorists stopped by officers.

Miriam Jones  |  Chief Copy Editor