Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O Balderson announced that Mobile Data Terminals (MDT’s) have been installed and are “up and running” in deputy patrol vehicles since mid November. The MDT is one of the most valuable and important tools available to law enforcement. It has increased effectiveness by providing easier access to database files, which results in improved officer safety and enhanced communications. Information regarding wanted or missing persons, stolen vehicles as well as other important information is readily available to deputies in a very short period of time. “Obtaining and installing the MDT’s for our deputies was a project I had hoped would have occurred before now, stated Sheriff Balderson. Without the assistance of Lieutenant England and Larry Wheaton in researching the project and their persistence in obtaining the grant through the Edward Byrne/Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, the MDT’s would not have been made possible.”
In addition, MDT’s significantly reduce “voice radio traffic.” This eliminates unnecessary use and congestion since the deputies can obtain initial information regarding vehicles and suspects during the initial “stop” or field investigation. Previously, all requests for information regarding individuals, vehicles, license plates, etc. had to be requested through the dispatch center. This required a dispatcher to look up information by computer inquiry, manual records search and/or making telephone calls. This time consuming process resulted in the deputy losing valuable time in obtaining information. Additionally, deputies can complete required paperwork/reports in the field using the MDT’s which will allow for more visibility.
“The acquisition of this tool will enhance the sheriff’s office operational effectiveness and efficiency to include first and foremost officer safety. However, the MDT in no way diminishes the critical role of our dispatchers. They are and always will be the lifeline for all law enforcement, fire and rescue,” stated Sheriff Balderson.