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East Hanover Police First in New Jersey to Employ Wireless 'Mug Shots'
Bell Atlantic Mobile Technology Enhances Community,
March 2, 1999
Lynette F. Viviani,
EAST HANOVER, NJ -- Police in East Hanover are the first in
New Jersey, and among a handful of departments across the
country, to use Bell Atlantic Mobile's AirBridge? wireless data
network to access 'mug shot' photos of suspects right from
laptop computers in their patrol cars.
According to East Hanover Police Officer Jeffrey Swett, the
ability to verify a person's identity by viewing mug shots
on-the-spot provides officers with the photographic
information they need to make critical decisions that can
enhance their personal safety and that of the community.
Mug shots are transmitted in the form of digital color
photos and can be retrieved in as little as 65-70 seconds
The department, which deployed Bell Atlantic Mobile's
AirBridge® wireless data network to access text information
from the Department of Motor Vehicles, municipal court listings
and state and federal criminal records more than a year ago,
recently added the new mug shot feature as a system enhancement.
Nine patrol cars are equipped with the laptop computers that use
the wireless service and a tenth wireless unit is housed in a
briefcase for use by undercover officers in sensitive
"The old saying that 'a picture is worth a thousand words'
has never been more true," said Officer Swett. "There are many
reasons why a person would claim to be someone else when pulled
over by a police officer. By viewing the 'mug shot,' the officer
is able to verify the person's identity and determine an
appropriate course of action.
"Our officers use the laptops constantly to obtain critical
information in seconds without leaving their patrol cars. They
can determine if an individual is driving with a revoked license
or wanted for another traffic violation or criminal offense.
This new 'mug shot' feature just adds another layer of security
to our remote operations," Swett said.
In one possible scenario, Swett said undercover officers who site
a suspect can type that individual's physical characteristics into
their laptop unit and, in just one minute, receive a series of
photos of the top ten persons on file fitting that description.
The software is designed so the photos can be updated;
every time an arrest is made a photo can be added to the database.
Charles Hand, president of Bell Atlantic Mobile's New York
Metro region, said messages carried over the AirBridge wireless
data network are "encrypted," or scrambled, to prevent unauthorized
"Police departments throughout the area have come to rely on the
critical information that Bell Atlantic Mobile technology puts at
their fingertips," Hand said. "We're now happy to enhance text
information with digital photographs."
More than 30 New Jersey police departments currently use Bell
Atlantic Mobile's wireless data network to access centralized text
information including Livingston, Bridgewater, Somerville, Mahwah
In the NY/NJ Metro region, Bell Atlantic Mobile was named leader in
overall customer satisfaction among wireless users, according to the
prestigious J.D. Power and Associates 1998 U.S. Wireless Customer
Bell Atlantic Mobile owns and operates the largest wireless
network in the East, covering 120,000 square miles, and the largest
chain of retail outlets devoted exclusively to wireless voice, data
and paging. Based in Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has 6.2
million customers and 8,000 employees from Maine to Georgia and,
through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. Through its
"Wireless at Work..." community service program, the company uses
its technology to help individuals and communities improve security
and emergency communications. Bell Atlantic Mobile's parent is one
of the world's largest wireless communications companies, with
domestic operations in 25 states and international investments in
Mexico, Europe and the Pacific Rim. For more information on Bell
Atlantic Mobile visit: www.verizonwireless.co; on global operations
Editor's Note: Photos available upon request.