Local News

N.C. Highway Patrol Getting Linked Up

Posted November 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Until recently, it took several minutes for a North Carolina State Trooper to run a check on a license plate, but now officers are getting computerized so they can access that same information in a matter of seconds.

State-of-the-art mobile data terminals are not only faster and more efficient, they also make life on the road safer for the troopers.

Trooper Charles Lee says it could get tedious trying to get information on a traffic stop.

When a trooper called for information under the old system, communications systems were also running checks for troopers in six or seven other counties, so it could take a lot of time. Now, according to Network Engineer Dyke Hostettler, that same information will be available with just the click of a couple of buttons, thanks to new mobile data terminals.

Trooper Fred Davis says the system also allows troopers to communicate with other officers anywhere in the state.

Possibly the most important aspect of the new system is the safety it offers. Lee says the computer lets him know more about the person he is pulling over, before he even gets out of his cruiser.

So far, 105 troopers in North Carolina have been trained to use the new computers. The highway patrol hopes to have 150 officers using them by Christmas. Within two years, the system should be fully operational.

Photographer:Greg Clark