Biscayne National Park Rangers Go Wireless To Track Crime

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Wireless transmissions are helping law enforcement rangers at Biscayne National to stay atop of crime./NPS

Call it a sign of the times. Law enforcement rangers at Biscayne National Park in Florida have gone wireless with their computer systems in an effort to better track crime, and criminals, in the park.

Patrol boats at the park are being outfitted with rugged new computer systems. The technology allows park rangers to connect directly into a central database for tracking crime related information. It improves public and employee safety, and saves time and money in the process, according to park officials. The technology is the first of its kind operating on boats in the Southeast Region of the National Park Service and one of the first nationwide for the agency.

"This park is at the forefront of a wireless trend in the national park system," said Chief Ranger Willie Lopez. "With the new technology it is quicker and easier to obtain necessary information. It cuts down on workloads and keeps everyone safer than before."

With the new tools, park rangers in remote areas of Biscayne no longer need to wait for radio contact to conduct their work. Citations may be printed and presented instantly on waterproof paper. The technology is working well for other law enforcement agencies. The system is operational on one park boat and being expanded to other boats and vehicles. Background checks are more convenient, faster, and thorough, according to a park release. Busy signals and wait times are being relegated to the past.

The weather resistant computer systems, manufactured by Getac, allow park rangers in remote locations to access the National Crime Information Center, a centralized information system that improves the flow of communication between numerous law enforcement agencies. Information is available instantly on fugitives, missing or wanted persons, stolen property and other subjects.

Funding for the installation of the computer systems was provided by the South Florida National Parks Trust, the park's official, non-profit partner. The Trust supports the park through fundraising and community outreach.