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How the Boise Police Department built a superior in-vehicle network for less

Not long ago, the Boise Police Department’s cruiser fleet was outdated, expensive, and difficult to maintain. With a vibrant city of 200,000 people to protect and serve—and a limited budget with which to do it—finding a better in-vehicle network solution required a clear vision and access to the right technology.

That vision was led by Eugene Smith, Deputy Chief of Operations. Smith was determined that the City needed to replace its aging, clunky police in-vehicle network connectivity solution, which depended on aircards the officers had to plug (and unplug) into the back of their in-vehicle laptop computers. His idea was to upgrade the network to enable officers to spend more time patrolling, adapting to evolving technology, while reducing the amount of IT resources needed to maintain the network—all in the face of an unmoving budget.

The solution

Working with the City of Boise’s Information Technology department, Smith spent 18 months searching for the best technology to meet the police department’s needs. “We needed to lower our costs and were looking for the best solution for our officers,” he said. “I would never put our officers back in that old car. There was too much tech, it reduced driving area and took up too much room.”

The solution was to implement a combination of wireless routing devices and a cloud manager to achieve a stable, flexible, and easily maintained network, while also reducing capital expenditures and operating expenses.

Cradlepoint was selected as the technology partner and began to install Cradlepoint COR Series devices in its 150-vehicle fleet. It also implemented Enterprise Cloud Manager, Cradlepoint’s network management and application platform, to enable central configuration, monitoring, and management of the Cradlepoint devices.

Along with these devices, the police department replaced its large mounted computers with tablets on retractable mounts to save space and enhance cabin safety for its officers.

“Cradlepoint saves so much time for IT and so much frustration for the officers,” said Sharon Jensen, the IT department’s Manager of Planning and Analysis. “Before, it wasn’t unusual for an officer to climb in their cruiser only to find that the modem was missing or broken. They would literally have to get out of the cruiser and either find another modem or find another car. With a Cradlepoint router secured in each trunk, officers know that when they get into their cruiser, they will be connected—end of story.”

The cost savings

Cradlepoint has helped the IT department realize significant cost savings in a number of ways. These include:

  1. The always-on connectivity lets officers stay in the field for more hours every day.
  2. Enterprise Cloud Manager shrinks the time and resources needed to conduct fleet-wide software upgrades and enables IT to deliver more cost-effective services to the police department.
  3. With officers able to spend more time in the neighborhoods, emergency response times are faster.
  4. Keeping track of and replacing broken or missing modems no longer consumes an inordinate amount of IT staff time.
  5.  With the Cradlepoint solution, IT was able to afford to replace all the computers at once and upgrade them to one wireless router solution. That dramatically reduces maintenance time and gives IT the freedom to make fleet-wide hardware changes.

By being smarter about its network solution, the IT department is now nimble enough to change as network technology evolves. The City of Boise has many new plans for using Cradlepoint to further improve police dispatching, officer safety, and cross-functionality between other City entities.

“Our overall goal is to create a mobile-office environment for everyone out in the field,” said Garry Beaty, Chief Information Officer for the City of Boise. “We want our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, code enforcement officers, inspectors—anyone working in the field—to have all the information technology they need to work together to get the most out of our tax dollars. Cradlepoint’s wireless technology is helping us get there.”

Join the Boise PD to learn more about the department’s police cruiser technology

Attendees of the 30-minute on-demand webinar will learn how:

  • The Boise PD implemented a better solution for its fleet of cruisers and saved taxpayer dollars in the face of an unmoving budget
  • This solution makes the officers safer in their vehicles
  • To reduce man-hours for firmware upgrades and fixes
  • This solution increases officer satisfaction and productivity

Click here for more details 

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