Slidell Police Department and the TOUGHBOOK 55: Minimize IT Troubleshooting and Boost Officer Mobility
Just outside New Orleans, the Slidell Police Department works to protect the over 27,000 people of Slidell, Louisiana. Their jobs require them to be constantly out in the community, going from desks to their vehicles, and anywhere the job takes them. The officers rely on rugged mobile solutions to get their jobs done.
For many years, the IT team at the Slidell Police Department deployed TOUGHBOOK 31 devices to its nearly 170 officers, which they found to be “very durable.” Then, a few years ago, when Mark Collins, IT Director of the Slidell Police Department, was looking to upgrade its mobile devices, he knew he had to prioritize simplicity and modernization. When evaluating which mobile devices to deploy, the department needed a solution that would work for the IT team, but more importantly, would meet the needs of officers.
As a small IT team of two technicians, Slidell placed a premium on device reliability. This is critical to avoid having to repair multiple devices at once or risk downtime with long waits for assistance from technicians over the phone. They wanted a solution that offered a streamlined repair process and a support team the department could count on.
To prevent officers from having to share all-in-one computers across four different shifts, they sought to deploy devices on a 1:1 device-to-officer ratio. This would reduce challenges of sanitizing or reallocating devices in between shifts, and give officers more flexibility to come and go between the office an the field.
The team of nearly 170 officers at the Slidell Police Department had used the TOUGHBOOK 31 while serving the community of Slidell, LA located about 25 miles outside New Orleans. When Mark Collins, IT Director of the Slidell Police Department, was looking to upgrade its mobile devices, he knew simple and modern was the way to go. The department’s IT team of just two technicians needed dependable devices that could meet the needs of its officers. The goal was to deploy one device per officer (a 1:1 device-to-officer ratio) to reduce the need to sanitize or reallocate devices between shifts, and to give officers more flexibility to come and go between the office and the field.
When making this upgrade, Slidell decided to continue utilizing TOUGHBOOK devices given its previous positive experiences. The Panasonic Connect team worked closely with Slidell’s IT team to understand what the department needed and how to customize the right TOUGHBOOK features for its units. Collins and his team deployed more than 150 TOUGHBOOK 55 units and were excited to take advantage of its enhanced processing power, docking flexibility and modularity.
The TOUGHBOOK 55 has become Collins’ favorite computer for the entire police department. It was deployed to animal control, the motorcycle group, dispatch group, training, patrol and more. Officers appreciate the flexibility of having their own device and the convenience of the docking stations, enabling them to move between the office and patrol car with ease. The TOUGHBOOK 55 also played a key role in helping the department maintain operations during Hurricane Ida thanks to its durability and breadth of connectivity options. Since deploying the TOUGHBOOK 55, the IT department has experienced better efficiency and has been able to minimize the money and time spent servicing units. The IT team was able to equip officers with an intuitive and modular device that enhances officer situational awareness, effectiveness, and efficiency.
Since deploying the TOUGHBOOK 55 devices, Collins says they’ve been impressed with the solution, noting how fast the device performs and how well the software operates. Slidell has also taken advantage of the modularity of the TOUGHBOOK 55. The department added DVD players to some units and is considering adding dual-pass antennas through docking stations. Collins also appreciates that his team can easily remove and replace parts themselves without having to ship devices back to the manufacturer for updates, thanks to the user-removable expansion packs (xPAKs) offered for the TOUGHBOOK 55.
The department also appreciated the various docking options of the TOUGHBOOK 55, which Collins says are very rugged and durable. Panasonic Connect representatives showed Collins the testing the company does to validate the security of the dock in the police unit.
The department uses a desktop dock for employees who spend the majority of their time in the office. Then, there’s a kiosk model with vehicle docks in the office for staff who are frequently coming and going between the office and the field.
Since deployment, the TOUGHBOOK 55 has become Collins’ favorite computer for the entire police department. Collins is hopeful that TOUGHBOOK devices will be the sole laptop used by the department in time. The TOUGHBOOK 55 is being used across animal control, the motorcycle group, dispatch group, training, patrol, CID, CSI and records, correction and the executive branch. The department is also testing it on trailer cameras for parking lots, which face a number of outdoor elements from severe winds to extreme heat.
The transition to the TOUGHBOOK 55 has also given employees more flexibility. Officers can take their laptop with them wherever they go and if the Chief calls a meeting, they can join virtually. This allows them to stay where they are needed most in the field, which is a “win-win when talking about public safety,” says Collins.
This combination of ruggedness and connectivity is what helped the department continue operations during Hurricane Ida.
From an IT perspective, trouble requests have reduced significantly since Collins and his team deployed the TOUGHBOOK 55. If an issue does arise, Collins’ technician can call Panasonic Connect’s “top-notch” support team to fix it over the phone or send it out for a quick repair. Overall, the device supports Collins’ philosophy of empowering officers with the technical knowledge to independently operate devices effectively and efficiently.
With the efficiencies they have seen after deploying TOUGHBOOK 55, Slidell has been able to employ more time in the community with the people and families that rely on their services. This means more time spent in the community with the people and families that rely on their service.