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Police push for digital upgrades

Department is seeking more advanced systems for records and scanning

September 13, 2011|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com
  • Burbank police officer, Cindy Guillen, shows a new device, Blue Check, that has been tested and by sergeants at the department. It's a thumb print device that communicates to the Blackberry. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Burbank police officer, Cindy Guillen, shows a new device,…

Burbank police are pushing to get a major technology upgrade that officials say will give the department better tools in the field and will end an antiquated system of record keeping.

Burbank Police Deputy Chief Tom Angel said the department is discussing developing a request for proposals for a new database for records and management because police don’t believe they are getting accurate response times and don’t have the means to track the information digitally.

“There’s not enough detail on how much time is spent on a call, report writing and proactive enforcement we’re conducting,” Angel said.

And much of the information for daily, monthly and yearly reports must be hand counted, he added.

The request for proposals for a new system might go out in a year, Angel said.

Meanwhile, Burbank Police Capt. Mike Albanese said the department is in the process of acquiring new audio recording devices that will assist in investigations and reviews.

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“It’s risk management,” Albanese said of the memory stick that plugs into USB ports.

The devices serve a double role in protecting officers with a digital account of what happens in the field, whether it’s a traffic stop or something more serious.

“I got my daughter — who’s in law enforcement — a digital recorder, not a backup gun,” Albanese said.

Officers have been using new digital fingerprint scanning technology to sift databases for possible fraud or identity theft in the field. The Blue Check has a small screen that takes a left and right thumb print and sends results to a Blackberry phone.

The scan pulls up information from anyone who has gone through the criminal justice system and can alert officers of fake names or identification, Albanese said.

The department is also testing an automatic citation writer, which means citations are issued more quickly.

Albanese acknowledged it may be bad news for drivers, but it saves officers time.

With the rise in fraudulent licenses, the citation writer assists officers with its ability to read bar codes and the magnetic strips on licenses, showing if it has been revoked or suspended, Albanese said.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, it frees up more time for crime fighting, he added.

“As we acquire more equipment to thwart criminals’ efforts, they are looking for ways to thwart our efforts,” he said.

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