New Technology Helping MSP

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For 13 years, Sergeant Pete Smith has served as a State Trooper. During those years, he has done a lot of traffic stops. He's also seen huge advancements in technology.

An upgraded computer program now speaks to the troopers, kind of like iPhone's Siri. The moment Smith runs someone's license plate, it tells him important information, like registration expiration and license suspension information.

For troopers, their car now is their office. Anything they can do in a brick and mortar building they can do in their car.

"If they are able to stay in the car and do what they need to do, then they are going to be closer to the calls and closer to where they need to be," said Sgt. Pete Smith, a trooper who works at the Lansing post.

A new program uses GPS to map where all the cars are-- it's color coded to indicate availability. State Police say the new AVL or Automatic Vehicle Locator system has greatly improved response times. The moment a call comes in to dispatch, 911 operators know exactly where the closest car is.

The new trooper locator system is already in use in Ingham County. The MSP is now working to fully integrate it in Eaton and Clinton counties as well.

"We've been inundated with car-deer crashes lately," said Smith. "It used to take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete a car-deer accident report and now you can get it done in about 5 minutes."

Upgraded computer programs also allow troopers to copy, paste, drag and drop information between programs-- making filing reports or giving tickets easier and faster.

Additionally The E-Daily Police Dashboard tracks officers work more efficiently, than in the past. Giving leadership pie charts, numbers and percentages on how troopers spend their time.

Where most drivers have an arm rest, troopers have a printer.

"Since it's all computerized, everything's very easy to read. Gone are the days of did they write a 2 or a 7 or a zero or oh," said Sgt. Smith.

The new reports make it easier for the courts as well. No one has to decipher handwriting.

"We have to do this," said First Lieutenant Tom Kish, the Lansing Post Commander. "We have to really direct our resources because we are limited right now in the number of troopers that we have across the state."

While technology has helped those already serving the public do so better, no amount of technology can make up for each trooper.

"We'd like to see more troopers out there," said Sgt. Smith. "People slow down on the freeway when they pass by the trooper cars--It's inherent. Everybody does that, and if the car isn't out there people aren't slowing down. If you don't see the trooper on the stop, maybe you're going to go a little faster than you should be."

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