Athens Police Department adjusts to new technology

Posted on Aug 20, 2014

In the past, Athens, Ohio, police officers were limited with their communication abilities by using minimal-range radios in their cruisers. Violations and police reports were written with pencil and paper, which made filing and documenting crime reports difficult to sort and read, The Athens Messenger cited.

Athens Police Department moves to technology

However, now the Athens Police Department uses advanced technology to catch criminals and log crime reports in its system. For some of the more veteran officers, the changing times can be difficult, but the new technology is helping solve more cases in the area.

"There are times when it's tough to negotiate the tech world," Police Chief Tom Pyle told the source. "Just give me a piece of paper and let me write the charge. I think most of the older officers feel the same way."

Rick Crossen, a veteran officer for the APD explained that he remembers writing reports on a piece of paper, but he also thinks about how annoying it was to type and create reports on a typewriter, The Athens Messenger reported.

Outdated equipment reassures officers about using new devices

Chief Pyle still has the old policing equipment used in the 1960s and 1970s. The outdated composite sketch systems that have movable noses, eyes and mustaches for witnesses to form familiar faces. Additionally, the station still has the fossil radios with extremely low bandwidth that could only reach up to a mile for communication, the source reported.

The APD now uses a multi-agency radio communication system (MARCS) to keep in touch with numerous first responders. According to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the MARCS technology provides wireless digital communications and allows interoperability that can increase police efficiency and help during emergency situations.

The system is a 700/800 megahertz (MHz) radio and its data networking system allows subscribers throughout Ohio and those in a 10-mile radius outside of the state to tune in, the source reported. It gives officers GPS-based locations for police cruisers, so officers can visually see what other agents in the field are nearby.

Department now working paperless

The shift in technology for the APD has helped it move its office to a completely digital station that no longer uses paper to record or file reports, The Athens Messenger reported. The station used to just have one police computer, but now has officers connected with smartphones.

"Some of that stuff was inconvenient but it's all we knew at the time," said Crossen, according to the source. "Sometimes though, I think the old stuff would [be] better but I like the computers, the new technology and I don't think I'd want to go back."

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