Santa Clarita’s sheriff patrol vehicles are about to take a giant leap into the 21st Century.
Over the next 21 months, Raytheon will be working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to install mobile Panasonic Toughbook computers in roughly 2,400 police cruisers.
Deputies will be able to access the Internet, fingerprint databases and other criminal databases inside their vehicles, and use GPS positioning to get to emergency calls quickly.
The long-awaited digital upgrade is coming at a cost of $35 million, including a $19.9 million contract with Raytheon.
Santa Clarita Station is expected to see the new mobile computers in October 2012, said Sgt. Ed Hummel of the sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
It could be sooner if installations at other stations go more quickly – or a bit later if they lag, he said.
Hummel said the three chiefs of the department’s three regions got together to decide how the new equipment would be rolled out, knowing everyone would want it right away.
So it’s being rolled out one station in one region at a time – first a station in Region 1, then a station in Region 2, then a station in Region 3, and then back around to a station in Region 1, and so forth.
Santa Clarita is 14th on the list of 27 stations, Hummel said.
In a statement, department leaders said the new equipment will dramatically upgrade the mobile digital equipment that’s been in place since 1987, for which replacement parts are no longer available.
“This huge leap in technology is important to the future of public safety for the millions of people living in the greater Los Angeles area,” the statement said.
“This new mobile data computer system will greatly increase the efficiency of deputies in the field, providing them more knowledge at their fingertips, and enabling them to do more for the public now and in the years ahead,” Sheriff Lee Baca said.