Iowa Department of Public Safety Iowa State Patrol Division
 

TECHNOLOGY

The Iowa State Patrol is constantly looking for more efficient ways to serve the citizens of Iowa and those motorists traveling through our state. We have introduced several technological advances in recent years and are currently participating in programs that we believe will result in significant advances in the near future. Each State Trooper’s patrol vehicle is equipped with audio/visual recording equipment. This equipment enables the troopers to accurately document traffic and criminal cases. This equipment has proved to be invaluable in court proceedings and traffic collisions. In addition to assisting troopers in capturing violations of the law, the recording equipment has also cleared many troopers from false accusations. The Iowa State Patrol’s overall quality control benefits from this piece of equipment.

Each year State Troopers receive training relating to the operation of their issued patrol vehicles. In the early 1990’s the division began using a computerized driving simulator known as AMOS. The equipment is capable of simulating many different driving situations. Some variables include day, night, surface conditions, type of vehicle and vehicle defects. The system is used regularly with new recruit classes and annual in-service training for patrol officers.The Iowa State Patrol was awarded a DOT grant that allowed the purchase of six laser measuring units. These laser units will be utilized by our Technical Accident Investigators to gather measurements at fatality collisions. The information is then stored in a palm device and later downloaded into a desktop/laptop computer. The tools will also be used for speed enforcement. Eventually each District office will be equipped with one of the tools.Responding to the need for improved communication and transfer of documents in a more expedient manner, the Iowa State Patrol instituted a PC based LAN (Local Area Network). All fourteen of the State Patrol’s satellite offices are directly connected to the departments Wide Area Network. Since the installation of this technology, the State Patrol has seen a significant increase in computer use. This technology has also allowed us the ability to have direct contact with citizens of our state. All of the PCs on the system have Internet capability for communications.To further use this technology, the State Patrol is using laptop computers in approximately 100 patrol cars. The laptops are used to gather information and avoid duplication. The computer will utilize a new software program (TraCS) that will allow troopers to share common data from one report to another. For example, when investigating a motor vehicle collision troopers are required to complete several different forms including the Iowa DOT form, citations, incident report and possibly additional forms if the collision involved a commercial motor vehicle or bus. This savings translates into the completion of incidents in a more timely manner and allows troopers to assist more citizens. They can dial-in from remote locations to share their reports with a District Commander or hard dock into a docking station at their District office. Early testing has also proven very positive with electronic citations. The technology allows the trooper’s citations to go directly to the Clerk of Courts office in electronic form.The advancements with laptop computers are directly related to our participation in the National Model program. The National Model for the Statewide Application of Data Collection & Management Technology to Improve Highway Safety is a program for sharing information, resources, and technologies to improve highway safety. The focus of the National Model is improving data acquisition for roadway incidents, leveraging proven technology for law enforcement, streamlining communications and extending the use of the information for short and long-range safety and law enforcement programs.

The National Model is a consortium effort. The initial members of the consortium include: the Iowa Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division (MVD); the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Iowa State Patrol; and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Iowa DOT and FHWA are the lead organizations in this effort.

For more information go to http://www.dot.state.ia.us/natmodel

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