ATHENS, Ohio – A central Ohio sheriff’s office is leading the way – and perhaps the country – in how it’s using technology.
The Athens County Sheriff’s Office is using an everyday iPad in place of the traditional mobile data terminals used in most police and deputy cruisers throughout central Ohio.
Captain Bryan Cooper is one of two people at the Athens County Sheriff’s Office who developed a new in-cruiser computer system – all on the iPad.
Cooper said it’s something the sheriff’s office came up with in January of 2013.
“No more do we have to sit and actually enter in data to get whatever we want,” Cooper said. “We just touch the app that we want, and it gets us right there.”
Cooper says the new iPad program does nearly everything similar to traditional MDT’s… but doesn’t take up as much space.
And with the iPad, deputies can now take it out of the cruiser to run photo lineups, conduct interviews and even instantly share strategic locations with the special response team using maps.
Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly said the iPad also puts deputies on the road longer.
“Now, the deputies don’t have to come back to the office to download reports,” he said. “We can do everything that we could do with a computer and more.”
FaceTime, Apple’s built-in video communication tool, is another reason why the sheriff’s office says the iPad works so well for them.
The app allows people to talk and see each other for free. Now, investigators can use it at a crime scene and Facetime with the Sheriff or other detectives who are miles away, allowing them to help with investigating crime scenes.
“Then we can make a determination if we need the meth guys out there to process a lab, do we need detectives or is that something that the lieutenant or road unit can process themselves?” Cooper said
Another plus to the iPad – it’s a money-saver.
Sheriff Kelly said the iPads save the department about $2,000 per computer.
With 16 cruisers, that amounts to a large savings.
The sheriff said they are still working out a few issues with the devices – like how to take pictures at night, since there is no flash on the current iPad.
But he said Athens County is one of a handful of law enforcement agencies across the country utilizing the iPad in this capacity, making them innovators in combining technology with crime-fighting.
Republished with permission 10tv New. Angela An reporting. Wednesday, September 4, 2013.