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Seamless Mobile Data Project Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
20 pages
This report details the evaluation of a project designed to make alternative data systems viable for Virginia State law enforcement officials.
Focusing on developing statewide wireless data capabilities for law enforcement agencies, this report evaluates a project designed to make alternative data systems viable for Virginia’s State Police Department. The development and testing of a seamless mobile data network, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, is described and evaluated in this report. In this project, 24 IBM compatible laptop computers were installed into Virginia State Police patrol cars and augmented by 7 pen-based units for comparative test purposes. The laptops were connected via modems to a commercial wireless communication provider, and the data was interfaced with State criminal and motor vehicle databases. After describing the written survey instrument given to troopers at two separate intervals in order to determine their views on the hardware, software, and the usefulness of the devices and network in their duties, this report details the findings from this project. The technical challenges reported throughout this project are largely classified as software and hardware failures and incompatibilities. Survey results indicate that, over time, troopers became quite familiar with the hardware and software, focusing their survey responses on further program enhancements rather than on problems. After presenting a series of recommendations for improving the dependability of the wireless services and upgrading the hardware, this report presents a listing of the equipment assignments, a summary of the maintenance logs, and the raw data results of the survey instrument.

Date Published: December 1, 2000