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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department motorcycle deputies get high-tech upgrade

October 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The motorcycle fleet of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is getting a high-tech makeover. Dozens of motorcycles are being equipped with computers, all in an effort to improve public safety.

When motorcycle Deputy Luis Rojas makes a traffic stop, he calls dispatch to see if that driver has arrest warrants or a valid license.

"Our current way is we usually run a subject over our portable radio, which often, we have to wait," described Rojas.

Soon, Rojas will be able to access the information himself. All 100 of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's motorcycles will have laptops stowed in their saddlebags by the end of the year.

"There's internal GPS, there's cellular, there's Wi-Fi, so we're all pretty excited," said Deputy Jim Walton.

The Panasonic Toughbook allows deputies to log on and look up vital information. Deputies can search for a vehicle's license plate, a wanted person or a DMV request. The system can also check if property, such as a gun found in a vehicle or a bicycle, is stolen. Deputies can also pull up a map to see where the other units are, which is a safety feature.

If a deputy stops somebody who is driving with no identification, they can pull out their laptop and access a data base to find if that person has ever been arrested in L.A. County by checking their fingerprints. In the future, the database will be expanded to include more jurisdiction.

"We need to look up a certain penal code or vehicle code, we can look it up out on the field. This computer has so many features," said Rojas.

Deputies will be trained on all the features next month before they hit the road.


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