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SLO Police get a high-tech boost

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San Luis Obispo police officers are expected to soon be able to electronically write citations and collision reports in the field, as well as download information to databases for the department and Public Works.

In October of 2005, the city of SLO received a $110,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to fund the computer-aided dispatch and records management system.

In the past, officers would have to call license information and plate numbers into dispatch to discover exactly who they were dealing with. Now, the process will be digital and fast.

"I think the coolest thing about this is we are able to put computers on motorcycles," said SLOPD Capt. Dan Blanke. "We're the first department to do this that I know about."

In addition to the computers, compact printers will be installed on police motorcycles and cars.

Currently, a records clerk takes the paper tickets and manually enters them into the records management system. But not anymore.

"The biggest benefit with it is that once the information is saved from the citation or collision report, it automatically flows into the records management system and it can be sent to traffic engineering," Blanke said. "This will free up time for both people."

Though the move apparently cuts out the dispatchers and records clerks in the middle, Blanke said that both positions are safe.

He added that a "small" amount of money from the city fund was needed to finance the project.

Once officers become familiar with the software, they'll take it to the streets, probably toward the end of February.

Spillman Technologies Inc. of Salt Lake City is the software provider.

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