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Windham police set to add tablets to cruisers

WINDHAM — The Windham Police Department will soon purchase seven mobile data terminals for its fleet of cruisers.

On Monday night, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to accept a $34,723 bid from the Solzon Corporation, which includes the purchase and installation of seven Motion J3600 computer tablets and car mounts.

“This is one-stop shopping for everything,” Police Chief Gerald Lewis said.

Lewis said the new communications equipment was included in a previously approved Capital Improvement Plan for police equipment upgrades.

The department’s current mobile data terminals, which are the portable computers that link officers in cruisers to staff at the police station as well as state and regional emergency and law enforcement officials, were purchased in 2005. After nearly eight years of daily use, one of the five computers is no longer working and the other four often malfunction.

As of this week, there’s a balance of $40,648 set aside for the new computers — more than enough to cover the Solzon Corporation bid.Lewis said the removable PC tablets are ideal for police use, noting that many of the police cruisers in neighboring towns are outfitted with similar technology.

“This is where the future is,” he said, adding that traditional laptops can pose problems when the hinges wear out.The tablets, on the other hand, can serve multiple purposes since officers can remove them from their dashboards to use at crime scenes. The webcams can be used to photograph evidence, Lewis said, and officers can also take witness statements on the tablets.“These do a whole host of tasks,” Lewis said, adding that the tablets could easily be equipped with fingerprint readers.

Lewis said the tablets have a special coating to protect them from dirt and water.

“The idea is to purchase equipment that’s as sturdy as possible since it’s going to be out in the rain, the humidity and the sand,” Lewis said.

The purchase will also include a three year “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, police officials said, noting that the expected life span of the tablets is about five years.

In March, voters approved a warrant article that allowed police to set aside $84,600 for the replacement of two-way radios and computers in the department’s cruisers. The remaining money will be used to replace mobile radios in the department’s 12-vehicle

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