Somerville Police Use Wireless Data System to Keep Streets and Officers Safe

January 23, 1996


SOMERVILLE, NJ -- Somerville Borough Police today have a new, high-tech weapon for tracking stolen vehicles and nabbing wanted drivers, thanks to an agreement signed by Mayor David Hollod with Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile to equip police cruisers with new wireless data technology called Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD).

Ten laptop computers using the company's AirBridge® Packet Data service, will be placed into Somerville Police squad cars by the end of January. Financed with a capital bond approved in the 1995 Somerville Borough budget, the computers will provide patrol officers with virtually instant wireless access to information on drivers and their vehicle license plates.

The new system gives officers access to reliable, timely information before they approach a vehicle, house, or suspect, allowing them to accurately assess potentially dangerous situations.

Somerville Police Lieutenant Richard Rose said the benefit of the new technology will be two-fold. "Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile has given us a valuable tool that can protect our officers' safety on the road and help them identify people who are wanted by the law. Many citizens out there have outstanding warrants for their arrest, some are driving when their licenses have been revoked, and others are driving stolen vehicles.

"Using CDPD technology, our officers can obtain basic information on the vehicle in seconds, without ever leaving their squad cars. Just by typing in the car's license plate number, our officers will know whether the vehicle has been reported stolen and to whom the vehicle is registered," Rose said.

The new technology also will make officers more efficient. "Before we obtained this technology, we had to check driver's licenses and plates through a dispatcher, who usually was juggling three or four other calls at the time. That process took several minutes, compared to the five seconds it takes with Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile's wireless data service. Officers now can connect quickly and directly with the state and national records bureaus."

Rose said his research into wireless technology showed that police departments using CDPD technology soon increased their efficiency up to six times. "When we looked at options for upgrading our existing radio system and enhancing our communications capabilities, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile had the best, most cost-effective solution to our problem," Rose said. "Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile wrote the book on wireless data technology, and they provide the creativity and personal service to go with that technical knowledge."

Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile Vice President Lonnie Lauer said his company looks forward to working with the Somerville Borough Police, and is eager to work with other law enforcement agencies interested in the benefits of wireless data technology.

"We're able to provide police departments with a much more reliable and affordable alternative to traditional radio transmission because our wireless data service uses our existing cellular network," Lauer said.

"There's no need to construct additional radio towers or worry about network maintenance or upgrades. Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile takes full responsibility for maintaining and upgrading the system."

Another benefit of the new system is increased security of police communications. Messages carried by CDPD are "encrypted," or scrambled, to prevent unauthorized receptions.

"Using this new technology, we'll be more productive than ever. During a routine patrol, our officers can tap in a license" Rose said. "For example, you can often turn up stolen vehicles in the parking lots of motels and hotels during the night shift."

The software that will allow officers to connect with the Division of Motor Vehicles, municipal court listings of outstanding warrants, and state and federal criminal records -- as well as the department's own in-house computer system -- is being provided by PacketCluster Systems of Massachusetts.

With more than three million customers, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile is the largest wireless service provider on the East Coast. Based in Bedminster, NJ, the company offers a full range of wireless voice, data, and paging services to the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast and, through a separate subsidiary, in the Southwest. The company was formed in July 1995 through the combination of Bell Atlantic Mobile's and NYNEX Mobile's cellular operations.


for more information, contact:

    Lynette Viviani,Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile, 201 283-9228

    Lieutenant Richard Rose, Somerville Police, 908 725-0331

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