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N.C. Highway Patrol Getting Linked Up

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The NC Highway Patrol is putting new computers in troopers' cruisers.
RALEIGH — Until recently, it took severalminutes for a North Carolina State Trooper to run a check on a licenseplate, but now officers are getting computerized so they can access thatsame information in a matter of seconds.

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

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

When a trooper called for information under the old system,communications systems were also running checks for troopers in six orseven other counties, so it could take a lot of time. Now, accordingto Network Engineer Dyke Hostettler, that sameinformation 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 communicatewith other officers anywhere in the state.

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

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

Photographer:Greg Clark

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