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Virtual Desktop System Saves Police Department Time and Money

NCJ Number
Date Published
National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center
This issue of TECHBeat describes the features of the Greenwich Police Department’s (Connecticut) state-of-the-art IT system, which enabled the department to change a network of approximately 60 personal computers to almost none.
The agency moved its resources to the Cloud, which enables officers to use any of 120 “thin clients” to access their personal virtual desktops. The new IT system was installed when the agency moved to a new building. This involved leaving behind the aging, cobbled-together string of “hand-me-down” PCs and 14 physical servers representing a range of manufacturers. Rather than an officer having a PC with its own operating system, the “thin client” gets its programming from a “giant brain” down in the basement. Although the agency decided to implement sufficient resources to enable users to each have a “persistent desktop” system using “thin clients” that remain in each office, it is also possible to build alternative environments that pool resources. This enables a user to check out a “thin client,” use it, and then return it to a pool for circulation. Patrol officers can log into the system from the car laptop using a VPN connection, and they can also log into the same session on a “thin client” in the building to finish reports. A few areas, such as forensics, continue to have PC stations because of the type of software needed in that division. Because the “thin clients” have no moving parts, they seldom, if ever, break down. The system is managed by trained officers, not IT professionals. If there is an update, officer managers just build one new desktop and clone it. Information on long-term cost savings are discussed.
Date Created: April 16, 2013