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Westminster : Police Field Reports Will Be Computerized

Handwritten reports will soon be a thing of the past at the Police Department.

The City Council this week awarded a $300,000 contract to a Canadian company to provide computers in police cars, enabling officers to file reports quicker and more accurately.

The computerized reporting system, for instance, will eliminate the practice of writing down basic information, such as name, date of birth, address and telephone numbers of people involved in traffic accidents, according to Capt. Brandon Savage.

He said that data will be entered only once and then transferred to a computer at the police station, avoiding the task of writing a report when the officer completes a shift.

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“This also increases clarity because it’s not handwritten,” Savage said. He added that it will minimize, if not eliminate, the chances of reports being lost.

The computers, a little bigger than lap-top computers, will be installed in police cars, close to the radios and video cameras. Twenty-eight patrol cars and police service cars are expected to be equipped with the computers by July, Savage said.

In 1991, the Police Department began computerizing office operations, including dispatching and records management. The new computers are intended to make routine duties simpler and faster and free up the officers for other law enforcement jobs, Police Chief James Cook said in a report to the council.

Time Communications of Ontario submitted the lowest bid among four companies that responded to a request for proposals last year, officials said.

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It also offered a hardware and software package, which the other companies did not.


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