Add laptops to the fight against crime

FWay Police could use computer aid

For as many times as people complain that there don’t seem to be enough police to go around –– and, in Federal Way, the debate in the past year over efforts to keep the Police Department at full strength through recruiting and retaining officers –– there may be a partial solution for less than $30,000.

Federal Way’s Police administration is applying for $29,114 from the 2006 Byrne Justice Assistant (JAG) allocations. JAG issues grants to local jurisdictions for various uses in fighting crime. In Federal Way’s case, that would be to give officers quicker access via laptop computers to pictures, voice and video outside of their patrol cars, which currently have broadband wireless technology. The only trouble is that the in-car computers are hard-wired, meaning they stay in the cruisers instead of being toted into homes or businesses of victims and witnesses, where officers sometimes need to do some of their most important work.

If JAG grants the Police Department’s request, 46 patrol cars will get portable laptops. In addition to taking them wherever they go, officers will be able to use them to get the ball rolling for search warrants and also put them to use at community meetings for instant access to information when citizens want it.

Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

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