Sullivan Police Department deploys vehicle-mounted tablets

Located in east central Missouri and 65 miles southwest of St. Louis, the town of Sullivan has a population of approximately 10,000 citizens and is served and protected by 16 sworn police Officers along with 7 civilian employees.

The Sullivan PD has always been one of the leaders when it comes to deploying the latest technology to streamline their operations and help keep their officers and community safe. Many of the Officers enjoy having computers in the vehicles as it allows them to check the department database for suspect photos and residential information, as well as checking on the status of driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations without tying up a Dispatcher. This is a vital time saver for a small agency where they may only have up to 5 Officers on duty at any particular time.

They recently set out to find a rugged tablet solution to replace their aging and expensive in-car laptops.

The Customer Challenge

As a small agency, budget is always an important aspect during the procurement process no matter what’s being purchased. For Sullivan PD, they’ve traditionally used Panasonic Toughbooks for their vehicle-mounted computers which can cost up to $3,500 for a single laptop. Considered a big ticket item at that cost, it just wasn’t feasable anymore as budgets become tighter and those Panasonic devices were failing more frequently.

The aging laptops were limiting the productivity of Officers to the point where they’d revert to collecting information using pen and paper in the field, and then transfer that data to the department database at the end of their shift.

These time consuming issues were affecting the bottom line, resulting in Sullivan Police Department seeking out for new laptops or tablets.

The MobileDemand Solution

After testing several laptop and tablet solutions from various providers, Sullivan PD selected the xTablet Flex 10 rugged tablet from Iowa-based MobileDemand. The Flex 10 is thin and lightweight yet rugged to withstand the rigors of daily use. The Flex 10 is mounted inside the squad cars using a non-obtrusive RAM mount and attached is a full Bluetooth keyboard for fast and efficient data entry.

In addition to the mounting setup, Sullivan utilizes Information Technologies Inc. (ITI) Records Management System which runs on the full Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional operating system.

One of the huge benefits according the Sergeant Mike Simmons is the ability to quickly remove the tablets from the mount, taking them outside of vehicle when necessary. This allows the Officers to take the device in to a residence during a call or use the camera for evidence capture and initial data collection. And the ruggedness of the device could be an added measure of self defense should the need ever arise.

“Not only were we able to improve the productivity and efficiency of our Officers in the field, but we were able to do it at a fraction of the cost compared to the Toughbooks we were previously using,” said Sullivan PD Sergeant Simmons. “The Flex 10 hardly takes up any room inside the squad cars and has already proven itself in terms of computing power and reliability.”

Sullivan PD has plans in the immediate future to implement mobile ticket printers, connected to the tablets via USB or Bluetooth.

patrol car police department using tablets
Sullivan, Missouri Map