Central Los Angeles : LAPTOP COPS

South Gate police will be marching into the Information Age, thanks to a federal grant for $25,000 that they will use to buy 10 laptop computers and software.

"We've been going toward a paperless department for about 10 years now," said Lt. Douglas Christ. Officers spend at least five hours of their workweek just filling out forms, Christ said. "The officers find they are more of a paper clip than they are gunslingers," he joked.

One computer program will allow police officers to fill out just one electronic form for an arrest of a suspect instead of handwriting four forms, which is the current process. The program will take the information from the electronic form and create the other three necessary forms, Christ said.

The time that would have been spent on filling out paperwork will now be spent on community improvement projects with business owners.

The actual grant is intended to support such community policing, Christ said.

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