SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Patrolling the streets can be a difficult and sometimes dangerous job for the men and women of Sioux City's police department. But a new tool is helping officers to stay connected and prepared for whatever might come.
"Probably the most common or most widely used piece of technology in the department are the computers," said Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick.
Computers have been around for a while now, but the way Sioux City police are using them is changing. Right now, when officers pull up to the station, the computers inside their cruisers connect to the department's wireless network. That network, though, is getting a whole lot bigger -- almost city-wide.
Kirkpatrick says, "It's something that we're just integrating now, we're working through some of the bugs."
Those bugs are connectivity and coverage issues.
"We want to ensure that we have adequate coverage and that we're not dropping out when we most desperately need the information," Kirkpatrick said.
The network will allow officers to access information in their database, crime software, and tap into a network of cameras located in parks, inside banks, stores, even schools.
"Anytime you have more information, that's rarely ever a hindrance, particularly if you have an event or an incident, say occurring at a school, if you can have the advanced information of being able to see into that school and see that problem, you're going to walk into the situation more informed," Kirkpatrick said.
Next on the technology horizon: a Mobile Plate Hunter, which is a device inside traffic units that can scan license plates for possible charges pending against drivers. However, Kirkpatrick says that's still in the planning stages.