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Police tech: How cops use IT to catch bad guys
by Stefanie at 11:40 am EST, Feb 11, 2008

Ever wonder what that cop is doing in his cruiser that's parked behind your car with lights flashing -- while your heart is pounding and you're searching for your license and registration? Most likely, he's researching you on his laptop, and finding a surprisingly large amount of information. According to Lt. Paul Shastany of the Framingham, Mass., Police Department (FPD), laptops in the unit's 24 patrol cars are the most important recent technology innovation that aids police work.

Backup is especially crucial for police departments, where lack of data can make or break a court case. "We back up everything constantly," Burman says. Once per month, he goes out to the cars and copies report data to CDs. The information is also stored on the department network, and the system is backed up every night onto the town hall network.

For even more redundancy, the police department and fire department run identical Keystone applications on identical servers connected by a fiber-optic network, so each department can back up the other's data. If there's a crash on the FPD server, Burman can change his server's IP address to the fire department's server and the police department is back up and running.

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