The Future of Law Enforcement:’Mobile’ Officers and Tablets

Moving into the future of law enforcement

City of Reidsville police department enhances the effectiveness and safety of mobile officers with rugged tablets

Law Enforcement   |   United States

Business needs

The Reidsville PD needed a more reliable, flexible patrolcar computer. In-car clamshell laptops took up significant room and made emergency passenger-side exiting difficult. They were too cumbersome to remove and use outside of the vehicle. Officers also needed a separate camera to take pictures, which then had to be uploaded to the laptops.

Business results

  • Provides a more flexible and efficient workspace for officers in patrol cars

  • Enables officers to be well informed and safe

  • Simplifies the capture of information and images and the filing of reports

  • Allows the police department to perform more effective community policing


with great reliability under challenging conditions


officers’ ability to respond quickly in emergency situations

The community-policing strategy of the police department (PD) in Reidsville, North Carolina, calls for collaboration with citizens and neighborhoods to address safety concerns and respond to crimes and other problems. The PD’s 50 officers need to be able to reach incident sites quickly and immediately jump into action. Robert Hassell, Reidsville police chief, says, “Technology is vital for what we do in law enforcement. We rely on technology to enable our patrol officers and to allocate resources to protect the city’s neighborhoods.”

When the Reidsville PD heard about the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet with the latest Intel® Core™ processors, it was eager to try the device. A successful proof of concept garnered positive feedback from patrol officers, and a number of patrol cars were furnished with the tablets. Rhonda Wheeler, director of IT for the City of Reidsville, says, “Like everything I’ve used from Dell in over 20 years, the Rugged Tablet is extremely reliable and comes with excellent tech support. The environmental performance is excellent.”

Increasing officer effectiveness

Immediately, officers found they had more space and capabilities. “The small Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet gives officers a more flexible workspace and lets them exit on the right if they have to,” says Hassell. “The versatility, however, is much greater. You can easily remove the tablet and take pictures of crime scenes or injuries with its built-in camera, in the rain or brightest sun. You can file reports immediately, while you’re moving about. We also save the expense of purchasing separate cameras.”

Maintaining the connection with law enforcement resources

The Rugged Tablets with powerful Intel Core processors are mounted on Precision Mounting Technologies (PMT) invehicle docks and securely connect to the internet by means of MiFi technology and NetMotion® Mobile VPN software. Officers access applications like SunGard® OSSI Mobile Field Reporting, eCitation to administer tickets, LexisNexis® eCrash to file accident reports, and Internet Explorer to reach law enforcement websites for warrant and license details or to use Outlook Web Access. Says Hassell, “The Dell Rugged Tablet allows us to protect our community better, because we can access the systems and databases that keep officers informed. That also keeps them safer.”

More responsive policing

Using the tablets, patrol officers remain in touch without leaving their area. “Thanks to the Dell Rugged Tablets, we can respond faster to de-escalate a dangerous situation or assist in an emergency,” notes Hassell. “Officers can maintain zone integrity but still communicate effectively through text or visually.” Reidsville PD expects to install more Dell Rugged Tablets in patrol cars. Says Chief Hassell, “The Dell Rugged Tablet helps us move toward the future of our department and how we should do things. It allows us to be better public servants.”