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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

HPD upgrading communications with patrol officers

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Honolulu Police Department hopes to improve its dispatch communication and records management programs with a $3.8 million enhanced computer system that should give officers faster access to more accurate information.

The city recently awarded a contract to Printrak to install the new system. Printrak is a subsidiary of Motorola Inc.

Maj. Carl Godsey, head of the department's records and identification division, said the system will be quicker in relaying more accurate information from the dispatcher to patrol officers via computers. The computers also will provide on-the-road access to information such as ownership of a car with a certain license plate, and whether there is an outstanding warrant for that individual, without going through the dispatcher.

Eventually, officers will have access to mug shots and will be able to file reports without leaving their cars. The first phase of the system should be in place by the end of the year, Godsey said.

Under the existing system, dispatchers send information via radios to officers. Under the new system, information can also be sent via computer as it is received by the dispatchers.

"So you're not going to get wrong address information, or mishearing things over the radio," Godsey said. "The dispatchers are going to know who's available and exactly where they are just by looking at their screen. It has the potential for such superior service to the community and really enhances our ability to detect and prevent crime."

Officers' safety also will be improved because the system can provide a case histories associated with certain addresses or persons, Godsey said.

"The officer can be advised that there's a higher potential for an issue there, or there were guns found there in a case recently. That information will be able to be gotten quickly," he said.

Godsey also said the improved system will reduce paperwork and speed up investigations.

"It'll keep the officer in the field, where as now they have to get out of their car and go in and write their police reports. They can stay in their cars and be more active," he said. "It gives us more freedom to do prevention, more access to information and quicker service to the community."