TAMPA - When Lt. Butch Delgado gets into his patrol cruiser these days, he's got a new ally. It's his laptop -- or more precisely, the program his laptop is running.
The Situational Awareness For Enforcers Common Operating Picture -- or SAFECOP for short -- has been rolled out to help provide officers with the most up-to-date information as they hit the streets.
"The quicker we can process all the information that we have now," said the veteran officer, "the quicker we can process all of that, one or two less victims we have in the city."
Police Chief Jane Castor, flanked by those who have put the program online and those crime victims it has already helped, says this is state-of-the-art and the culmination of years of effort.
"We analyze everything in this department, and all of that analysis and what comes out of it is then sent out to the officers," she said. "So the idea was 'how can you get that information out to the officers in real time?'"
The answer was a "cops-only" online blog, where bulletins and BOLOs and other important stuff is immediately accessible to all officers who need it.
"We believe it will revolutionize policing," said Rob Wolfe of technology vendor NC4. "Not only in the United States, but worldwide."
Which may be all well and good down the line, but one success story from last week shows how well this works here.
"I would walk in and find out that my office had been burglarized," said Gerard Scalzo, recounting the horror he discovered when he arrived at his Kennedy Blvd. business last week.
His break-in was solved within hours because officers were able to blog about the crime and offer a heads-up to their fellow patrols on the street, even while hundreds of officers were occupied with convention coverage.
And now that the city is returning to normal, this new enhancement to officers' rolling workspace will mean so much more.
"With this being the office, you're better tied in than you were before?" I asked Lt. Delgado. "No doubt," he replied. "No doubt."
The 26% drop in crime year-to-year during the RNC week has Police Officials crowing, even as they roll this program out to more patrol units.
The whole force is expected to be outfitted in the next few weeks.
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