Response times and emergency communication shouldn't not be compromised at the expense of poor cell coverage. Up until now, officers in Arizona have been living in an unconnected computer world taking handwritten notes during investigations and then driving to the nearest substation, often 80 or 100 miles away, to log into the computer systems. While in-vehicle computers and cellular modems are standard equipment for many law enforcement agencies across the U.S., making the department’s Mobile Data Computing Project work in Yavapai County, Arizona was a challenge due to weak cell signals provided by the carriers. The County covers 8,100 square miles, an area larger than several U.S. states, lying between suburban Phoenix and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Topography includes Sonoran desert and mountains rising nearly 8,000 feet. As the department researched the feasibility of implementing the upgrade, a field testing confirmed that the cellular signal in many areas of the county was too weak to allow in-vehicle modems to reliably connect with the department’s computer system. Now their officers have the data connectivity resources in their vehicles.
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