Sullivan Police Department Deploys Vehicle-Mounted Rugged 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 seven civilian employees.
The Sullivan PD has always been a leader in deploying the latest technology to streamline their operations and 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 view 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 five officers on duty.
They set out to find a rugged tablet solution to replace aging and expensive in-car laptops.
As a small agency, budget is an important aspect during the procurement process no matter what is being purchased. Sullivan PD traditionally used Panasonic Toughbooks for their vehicle-mounted computers which can cost thousands for a single laptop. Considered a big-ticket item, it wasn’t feasible 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 information was collected using pen and paper in the field and transferred to the department database at the end of their shift.
These time consuming issues affected the bottom line, resulting in Sullivan Police Department seeking new technology.
After testing several laptop and tablet solutions from various providers, Sullivan PD selected the xTablet Flex 10 rugged tablet from MobileDemand. The Flex 10 is thin and lightweight yet rugged to withstand the rigors of daily use. The device is mounted inside the squad cars using a non-obtrusive RAM mount with 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 operating system.
One of the major benefits according to Sergeant Mike Simmons, is the ability to quickly remove a tablet from the mount to use outside of the 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. 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 requires room inside the squad cars and has proven itself in terms of computing power and reliability.”
Sullivan PD plans implement mobile ticket printers, connected to the tablets via USB or Bluetooth.