State troopers going wireless
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Aug 14, 2002
Aether Systems Inc. has been awarded a $7 million deal to outfit the Pennsylvania
State Police's 1,600 patrol vehicles with software that enables wireless
access to criminal databases and electronic reporting.
"In effect, it allows the trooper to access 14 databases simultaneously
and get back an answer probably in about six seconds with information about
the vehicle, about the individual that's supposed to be in the vehicle,"
said Mike Mancuso, a group president of the Owings Mills, Md.-based company.
"It checks warrants, licenses, stolen vehicles and a variety of different
The deal is part of Pennsylvania's Incident Information Management System
(IIMS), a $123 million initiative to modernize the state's law enforcement.
IIMS was awarded to Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems. Aether
is a subcontractor.
IIMS, which will take about four years to complete in phases, will upgrade
existing infrastructure to accommodate new computer-aided dispatch and geographic
information systems, reporting management systems, bar-coding technology
for processing evidence and mobile computer software, among other things.
The initiative has been in the works for about two years.
Aether will provide state police with Aether's PacketCluster Patrol
and PacketWriter products in vehicle-mounted laptop computers. PacketCluster
is designed to provide troopers with real-time silent communication between
offices and mobile units, and PacketWriter is intended to accelerate the
preparation of incident and accident reports and improve their accuracy.
Mancuso said that in the future, state police also could incorporate
another Aether product, PocketBlue, that enables troopers to access databases
and make reports via handheld devices.
He said the commonwealth plans to roll out the product in phases and
in certain barracks to see what troopers like and don't like.
"It's probably the most aggressive project going on right now in the
country from a police standpoint," he said of the project.
Most of Aether's thousand-plus clients are local law enforcement agencies,
Mancuso said, adding that state police departments tend to have more antiquated
technologies than local departments, probably as a result of longer purchase
cycles, lead times and other pressures. Local governments are more flexible
and faster in implementing new technologies than states.