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Laptop Computers Expose Criminals
(October 14, 2004)


On October 12, 2004, Sheriff's Deputies' responded to a report of a crash at County Line Road and Morgantown Road. Upon his arrival, Deputy Andy Gordon found a multi-car chain collision crash involving five vehicles. Deputy Bryan Wolfe arrived to assist with traffic control. While just finishing up this crash, Deputy Gordon heard tires skidding on Morgantown Road and watched as a driver who had locked up her brakes skidded off into a row of trees. That driver, who was not injured, showed signs of being an intoxicated driver. Deputy Gordon obtained her name and date of birth verbally because she told him that she did not have her drivers' license with her. The Sheriff's dispatchers were unable to obtain a return from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles with the information as it was given. Deputy Gordon suspected that the woman was giving false information. Unfortunately for her, Deputy Wolfe's car is equipped with one of the test laptop computers that will be installed countywide beginning October 18th, 2004. Deputy Wolfe typed in the name given by the suspect and within seconds, was given three similar names; One of which was labeled as an "alcohol user." Once that name was selected, a list of prior involvements was obtained complete with a color picture and a description of a tattoo on the suspects ankle. With that information, positive identification was made simple. The suspect had used her middle name instead of her first name. When asked about the tattoo on her ankle and when she realized that we were looking at her picture on the computer, she quickly explained that she had lied to avoid being charged with Driving While Suspended, "because my license is suspended," the woman admitted. Beginning the week of October 18, 2004, the Fleet Management Division of Johnson County will begin installing the laptop computer network in the vehicles of all Sheriff's Deputies', followed close behind by other agencies. The laptop computers allow for quick transfer of wireless information from car to car and from the station to the car. Sheriff's Deputies will be able to access information about people, vehicles, property, and research prior criminal involvements of events which have occurred in Johnson County in recent years. These computers will provide a wealth of information at the fingertips of Sheriff's Deputies which will make the job safer by allowing Deputies to check for known threats before they approach a residence or person. In another example, Deputy Wolfe recently stopped a vehicle whose occupants were acting suspiciously near the site of a suspected theft of Anhydrous Ammonia. There were tanks visible in the back of the vehicle. A records check via the laptop computer showed that the passenger in the truck had a history of local theft and drug charges. In fact, the laptop computer allowed Deputy Wolfe to pull up and read a prior arrest report that informed him that the man in the truck he had stopped likes to hide marijuana inside his socks. Deputy Kerry Hamilton and canine partner Robbie arrived and Robbie indicated the presence of drugs on the passengers side floorboard where the mans feet had just been. This intelligence that will now be available to the officer on the street instantly will be invaluable and will result in more effective law enforcement. Look for more information coming soon on the laptop computer implementations...