Sheriff's deputies soon will

Sheriff’s deputies soon will be able to see the picture of a missing child or the mug shot of a felon on the loose with the stroke of a key and without leaving their cruisers.

This will happen because of a $749,000 federal grant the Broward Sheriff’s Office will use to install a wireless communications system that can download large computer files such as pictures and detailed maps into the laptops deputies carry in their cars.

In a hypothetical terrorist attack on a large building, within minutes deputies would be able to view detailed floor plans, which would allow them to respond faster and more safely, said Phyllis Koch, interim head of the agency’s systems department.

“This has lots and lots of potential uses,” Koch said.

The grant is part of a larger initiative managed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The program will distribute $62 million in similar technology grants to 294 law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Other South Florida agencies that will be receiving them are Fort Lauderdale, which will get $650,000; Wilton Manors, $225,000; and Miami Beach, $353,000.

The federal grant money covers 75 percent of the project the agency proposed in the grant application, with the agency providing the other 25 percent.

Koch said the Sheriff’s Office project falls just short of $1 million.

Broward sheriff’s squad cars already have laptops in them. But the new system will have 25 antennas installed throughout the county, which will be part of the wireless system. With the system, deputies will not clog radio channels that are needed for other vital communications such as 911 and running license plates.

Koch also expects the new system will make download times a lot faster without having to plug the laptop to a phone jack, or deputies going back to the station to get floppy disks.

Also, three of the antennas will be available to other agencies.

I wonder if it’s 802.11b. Anyone want to wardrive around Broward county?

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