New software affords deputies data during traffic stops

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - When chasing down crime in Jefferson County's streets, time is as important as information. Sheriff's Deputy Stefan Wilson agrees.

If he had stopped a car and wanted to run a warrant on the driver, it would have taken him three to four minutes to get the information.  But now, with a new records management system, it takes him about three to four seconds to retrieve it.

"You know, we have this saying, you can't out run the radio," Wilson says. "I guess now you can say, you can't outrun the radio or the computer."

The new system is called New World Mobile.  It looks like a simple laptop, but it's actually an office on wheels. With it, deputies can pull over a driver and before a deputies approach the car, they can retrieve data about the driver and relay info to dispatch....hands-free because the system has voice command.

"It is a way to connect and share crime data information across jurisdictional boundaries," says Sheriff Mike Hale.  He says in a county with 37 cities and 28 police departments and a country with many more, the software is important.

The system was a $4-million investment made possible with federal grants.

A 7-man team from with the Sheriff's Office installs the units. And they've became good at it as  each installation lasts about 23 minutes. Performing the installeation makes both, sense and cents. It saves over $150,000.

"What's the importance of this," asks Hale rhetorically.  "The importance is we can share data across jurisdictional boundaries and it ties us in to the rest of the crime fighting world. That's big stuff."

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