The Board of Regents, University of Nebraska Lincoln propose to evaluate whether existing commercial, off the shelf, hand-held computing devices using geospatial technology can efficiently increase police capacity. Geocoded police data will be incorporated into the moving map of an AVL system, so that police officers are constantly being presented with information about events or persons relevant to their current position. Specifically, the applicants will compare: 1) stationary GPS-enabled laptops running a virtual globe program mounted in patrol cruisers, to 2) hand-held cell phones with GPS and geospatial visualization capabilities and determine whether there is an impact on law enforcement objectives. The project is informed by theory suggesting that technological acceptance is increased by characteristics that are reflected in commercially-available cell phones equipped with geovisualization.
The project has significant policy impacts for the criminal justice system: The increasing availability of geospatial data may result in considerable system efficiencies and cost savings. Technologies and equipment in common usage today for business, recreation, and entertainment operates exactly as this project proposes, and adoption across the nation is likely. Communities will be better served as patrolling activities will be location oriented. The application goals of the project are: 1) pilot mobile devices with geospatial capabilities to increase police responsiveness; 2) increase efficiency of human and material law enforcement resources, and 3) demonstrate that these capabilities can quickly be adopted in agencies which are already geocoding similar police data.