Raleigh police hooked up with 3G broadband

Much has been made over the public safety portion of the 700 MHz spectrum. Finally, “first response” organizations — police, fire, Coast Guard — will have a network dedicated solely to them so they can communicate during disasters. That’s a nice step forward. A further step forward is equipping police departments with similar technology. Down in Raleigh, North Carolina, AT&T has shared its 3G HSDPA network with police to keep them more connected, even when driving their patrol cars.

“Officers require access to databases of mug shots, arrest warrants and DMV records on the spot,” said Lawrence Cullipher, IT manager, Raleigh Police Department. “Reliable access to data boosts productivity, leads to better decisions and keeps our officers safe while they are protecting the community.”
In this day in age, law enforcement agencies should be adopting more technologically-advanced database systems. To have a static database just isn’t efficient. So we like this. It gives officers up-to-date, accurate information that they can use to make better decisions. The technology, in essence, is a broadband access card for laptops. A card is placed in each patrol car, allowing officers to have perpetual broadband access. A number of handheld devices have also been implemented, which keeps officers on foot, bicycle, or horse connected as well. When officers effectuate a stop, they now have instant access to criminal history, warrants, and DMV information. This, however, can be seen as a negative as well. The more information provided to officers before hand, the more prejudicial they might act. That may seem cynical to some, but after living in suburbia for much of our lives, we know how cops abuse the crap out of their power. Giving them more information might engender more of that power mongering. Or it might not. We’re just throwing it out there.
“Government organizations, particularly public safety officials, require a secure, reliable network provider that can confidently extend communications capabilities beyond traditional two-way radio boundaries,” said Chris Hill, vice president – Government Solutions Group of AT&T’s wireless unit. “AT&T has the largest wireless data network in the U.S., and its solutions allow agencies to extend administrative and support capabilities deeper into the field.”
Once again, we offer a dissent. We’re not going to speculate as to who has the best national data network, but we’re pretty sure it’s not AT&T. Of course, this is just PR-speak. Raleigh might have gone with AT&T because there were few or no alternatives. Still, on the whole, consider this a step forward for public safety. [CNN Money]]]>

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