- Business & Development
Norcross Police Department purchases innovative WiFi and GPS technology system to improve call-response times and proactive crime-prevention strategies.
City of Norcross, GA - Federally-seized drug money is being put to good use in Norcross, most recently funding the Norcross Police Department's (NPD) purchase of a new system that combines WiFi and GPS technology. An Atrack AY5i device has been installed in NPD patrol cars, providing built-in WiFi with exhaustive vehicle analytics and accurate, near-real-time location data (GPS). The technology will improve officer safety and call-response times, as well as help direct and monitor police resources throughout Norcross.
"The technology we had before wasn't reliable as it relied on the vehicle's laptop computer which had to be running, as well as logged into our RMS/CAD systems to work. And the fragile GPS receivers would often break," NPD Sergeant Bill Grogan explained in a recent presentation to Norcross Mayor and City Council. "We explored options, but found that in addition to the initial hardware costs, operating costs for other systems ran anywhere from $7500 to $12,000 a year. The hardware costs for the Atrack device and GPS licensing were around $10,000 with no operating costs, so it's a one-time expense that's covered by Federal drug monies."
The ability to almost instantly identify a field officer's location has several benefits, one being that it reduces the time it often takes for police dispatch to locate officers nearest the reported crime scene, or to locate an officer requesting emergency back-up. The old system didn't show where an officer was at any given minute; now, a patrol car's location is quickly identified by simply looking at the dispatch monitor.
"Every second counts when someone is in trouble, and this GPS technology will help improve the ability to have an officer on the scene - and get him back-up if needed - even more quickly than before," said Grogan.
In addition, the new GPS technology will support the NPD's pro-active approach to crime prevention, giving local police the ability to monitor crime patterns and assign resources to areas showing an increase in criminal activity. The website www.crimereports.com coordinates with GPS, so the NPD can use that to identify where crime trends are building, see where the NPD is patrolling and if needed, redirect officers to make sure they are patrolling the areas of elevated concern.
"Inside our new GPS management software we've defined over 80 geographical fences around neighborhoods, apartment complexes and business parks, and the system logs in each time our patrol officers enter and exit those 'geo-fences'," said Grogan. "That allows us to monitor police movement in the field and make sure that the community is patrolled more evenly. Patrol routes can be adjusted if needed - it's a great way to make sure our resources are properly allocated and managed."
Federal drug funds have been used consistently to purchase updated equipment in the NPD, with several patrol cars, vehicle laptops and even guns purchased through these funds.
"Not one penny comes out of the pockets of local taxpayers," explained Norcross Police Chief Warren Summers. "We have one of most highly certified law enforcement agencies in the country, and it's definitely one of the best-equipped departments I've seen. And the great thing is, it's not at the expense of the citizens - we're basically taking money seized from the 'bad guys' and using it to afford innovative ways to protect law-abiding citizens and our officers."
The NPD has been certified by the State of Georgia since 2007 and is CALEA-certified at the Flagship Level, ranking it in the top 1% of the top 5% of all law enforcement agencies in the United States. # # #