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Washington, DC Police to Unveil New High-Tech Weaponry Against Criminals
Bell Atlantic Mobile Provides Wireless Data Network
March 17, 1998
Sgt. Joe Gentile
Bell Atlantic Mobile
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is taking
its crime-fighting to a new high-tech level utilizing Bell Atlantic
Mobile's AirBridge(r) wireless data network, and enhancing the safety
of District of Columbia residents, workers, visitors and law
In a news conference today, Interim Police Chief Sonya T. Proctor
announced that 14 D.C. police cruisers patrolling city streets now
have instant wireless access to criminal databases and Bureau of Motor
Vehicle records via portable laptop computers. Armed with Bell
Atlantic Mobile's Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD), officers can
access a variety of informational checks from anywhere in the city in
about 15 seconds. These checks include vehicle identification number,
license tag, drivers' license and criminal history. The system also
allows for e-mail to be relayed between officers on the street. The
program will be expanded to 177 laptops by the end of 1998.
The system gives officers direct access to the National Criminal
Information Center, the Washington Area Law Enforcement System and
nationwide motor vehicle information.
By connecting directly to the databases via CDPD, officers don't have
to rely on the department's dispatch operators - who are responsible
for many other functions - for critical information.
This direct access in the field saves time, frees up emergency radio
frequencies, enhances accuracy and ensures privacy. Information which
once took 15 minutes or more to access and was transmitted over
non-secure radio channels is now accessible in as little as 15 seconds
over fully encrypted, secure digital channels, which is especially
important for sensitive information.
"There's no doubt that officers equipped with laptops directly linked
to local, state and federal databases will function more effectively,"
said MPD Interim Police Chief Proctor. "The safety of our officers and
the expectations of our community demand that we maximize the
availability of information at the scene. Officers will be able to
better assess potentially dangerous situations, and it will allow them
to spend more time patrolling city streets."
"When we can put the power of wireless data to work against crime, it's
a win-win situation for the police and for the community," said Gary
Schulman, president of Bell Atlantic Mobile in Washington/Baltimore.
"This CDPD network is fast, accurate, private, affordable, and there's
no need for the department to invest the time, money and technical
expertise to construct their own radio infrastructure."
Bell Atlantic Mobile is the largest wireless service
provider on the East Coast and the second largest in the United
States. The company owns and operates the most extensive network in
the East, covering 111,000 square miles, and the largest chain of
wireless retail outlets offering a full range of wireless personal
communications services, including voice, data and paging. Based in
Bedminster, NJ, Bell Atlantic Mobile has more than 5 million customers
and 7,000 employees in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and -
through a separate subsidiary - the Southwest. Through its "Wireless
at Work..." community relations program, which includes HopeLine(
voice mail service, Bell Atlantic Mobile uses its wireless technology
to help individuals and communities improve security and emergency