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Mounted Raleigh Police Officers Gallop Into Wireless Age

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Along with their saddles and reins, Raleigh police officers are sporting wireless computers atop their four-legged partners.

"It's vitally important that they keep pace and have access to the kinds of tools that are needed to fight crime and do business in the 21st century," said Jim Sughrue, of the Raleigh Police Department.

The computers are part of an overall effort by the department to improve technology on the street. Cars and motorcycles have had mobile computer terminals for years.

Now, mounted officers and bike officers are wired as well. Officers can do everything from check records to file reports to communicating with other officers.

Raleigh police Officer J.A. Hood has been patrolling downtown Raleigh high above the fray for four years.

"It allows us to do our job more efficiently and a lot easier," he said. "If we're checking a suspicious person and we check the information, their name, we can now look up on these mini-computers and make sure their name matches their picture."

"We can look at driver's license. We can do vehicle registrations. We can look up serial numbers on weapons," Raleigh police bike officer J.D. Bruno.

Bicycle officers like mounted officers have the advantage of moving in and out of areas quickly. Now, they can also move information quickly.

"An officer puts it into his computer that if so-and-so is running towards this area, we can go ahead and look at it on the computer and try and get there a lot quicker," Bruno said.

"It can certainly make their job safer and it can play a big role in helping them ensure public safety," Sughrue said.

For years, the laptops in the Raleigh police cars were handled by modems. The department recently introduced the wireless cards. Eighteen bike officers and six mounted officers now have mobile computer terminals.


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