Pasco, Wash. - In a move that's expected to save tens of thousands of dollars annually, police officers in Pasco, Wash., will soon begin wirelessly transmitting electronic incident report forms from their squad cars to department headquarters.

Once operational, the new technology will allow Pasco officers to complete forms on laptop computers mounted in their vehicles. Officers then will transmit the forms wirelessly to headquarters, where they will be delivered to each member of the approval chain and archived in the department's database.

The department expects the new system, based on FormStream technology from NETdelivery Corp., to cut processing time for incident report forms from 30 minutes to a few seconds by eliminating the need for officers to return to the station to download the material. That change will save more than $180 a day, or more than $65,000 annually, according to Pasco police.

"We have been working with wireless systems in our patrol cars for four years, but have never had the capabilities to send complete forms wirelessly due to the large size of the files," said Captain Michael Aldridge, of the Pasco PD's Support Services Division. "The FormStream solution enables the forms to be broken down into small packets and sent through to headquarters in a matter of seconds. It also allows us to expedite the report process further by facilitating officers to attach digital files, such as pictures from a crime scene, to their reports."

The new technology, which should be completely installed by mid-summer, also allows the department to automate the routing and approval process for police reports. The department currently handles all routing, approval and storage of the reports manually and in hardcopy form.

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  |  Editor

Steve Towns is editor of Government Technology, and executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government Technology,Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market.