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Charles County Sheriff's Office Chooses Mobile Devices, Software

System mobilizes paper-based field information report process.

by / April 20, 2004
LA PLATA, Md. -- The Sheriff's Office of Charles County, Md., deployed management software to replace a time-consuming, paper-intensive field information report process. Charles County's 250 officers in the field now electronically record incident report information at the scene using HP iPAQ Pocket PC devices. At the end of a shift, information on the device is electronically synched to a centralized database, replacing what was once an archive of 16,000 paper reports.

In 2002, Maryland issued a mandate against racial profiling, requiring all state law enforcement agencies to collect certain data at all traffic stops, including race, gender, location and time of incident. At the end of the year, each state law enforcement agency had to compile one report out of thousands of traffic tickets. This report was then submitted to the Maryland Justice Analysis Center for review. Before deploying the joint XcelleNet and Vytek software, the Charles County Sheriff's office employed a full-time administrator tasked with compiling and submitting this data to the state.

"The data traffic program we developed with XcelleNet and Vytek has become a model in the state of Maryland -- we're frequently asked to speak about it to other departments," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "You can just imagine how time-consuming it was to hand search some 16,000 paper documents to find the information the state requires us to report under this mandate. The improvements in our process are so dramatic, I do not think we can even measure how much time we have saved by electronically capturing data."

Security & Manageability on the Front Lines of Law Enforcement
In order to confidently issue each officer an iPAQ, officials had to first account for two primary concerns: security and manageability. First, Charles County needed the assurance that the devices would be secured to protect the privacy of the victim and the investigation proceedings. They needed a plan to secure information if a device was lost or stolen. XcelleNet provided the ability to remotely lock down a stolen device or completely wipe it of information. Similarly it enables the sheriff's IT staff to restore information to a new replacement device or a device with a dead battery.

Second, the new mobile system had to be easy to use and maintain. Officers could not get bogged down by complex technology or complicated processes to keep their devices up-to-date with necessary applications and settings. Each time an officer docks an iPAQ at the end of the shift, information is uploaded to a centralized database. In addition, software updates are automatically pushed out to the device, freeing the officers from the burden of technical maintenance.

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Miriam Jones Chief Copy Editor
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