Salida, Colo. Police Department Implements Wireless Technology

Wi-Fi gives officers and detectives mobile access to data and file reports.

by / April 6, 2004
SALIDA, Colo. -- The Salida, Colo. Police Department has deployed a single Vivato 2.4 GHz Outdoor Wi-Fi Switch that covers the entire downtown area with wireless service, providing network access to laptop computers deployed in its full fleet of patrol cars.

The company's flat-panel 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Switch contains multiple integrated antennas and management software that extends the range and coverage of wireless connectivity up to four kilometers outdoors, with direct line of sight.

In Salida, a single antenna mounted on a city-owned building provides police officers with wireless network access as they patrol the six square-mile town. Every patrol car in the Salida fleet is equipped with external antennas and wireless-enabled computers, allowing officers to access network information, including criminal photographs, to enter data and to submit reports, while maintaining their street presence.

"National statistics have shown that crime rates are directly tied to the visibility of law enforcement," said Mark Mathies, Salida's chief of police. "Vivato's extended Wi-Fi coverage provided a cost-effective way for us to increase our officers' visibility in the field by liberating them from handling paperwork at the station."

Before installing the wireless system, Salida officers spent up to 60 percent of each shift typing data into a computer-based offense report system, dictating crime reports and handling other administrative duties from police headquarters. Now with their wireless-enabled laptops, officers use the department's server-based software to write and file reports or handle other administrative duties in their patrol cars.

Mathies' goal in deploying the wireless system was to increase officer presence in the community from the existing 40 percent per shift to 80 percent.
Miriam Jones Chief Copy Editor
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