The state of Alabama is on the move, so to speak, with its new software initiative. The Mobile Officer Virtual Environment (MOVE) was developed by the state and the Center for Advanced Public Safety at the University of Alabama for law enforcement officers to use in their patrol vehicles.
MOVE, which is really a software framework, integrates several applications and peripherals such as GPS devices and driver’s license scanners. Because no one wants hundreds of stand-alone applications that can’t talk to each other, integration is a key element of technology deployments in public safety arenas. In a bid to avoid these brick walls at the application level, MOVE allows data to be transferred seamlessly among all of its applications. This includes data from peripherals, which then becomes available to all of the applications. The result? All of this shared data can then be used to prepopulate input forms, saving time and increasing accuracy and consistency.
To date, MOVE houses modules to enter and process traffic citations; crash, incident and offense reports; officers’ daily logs; and a multi-database search engine called LETS-Go. Additional applications are also under development.
The driver’s license scanner with parsing software is capable of reading every state’s license, and the GPS units keep track of an officer’s location. This information not only autopopulates all the associated data entry forms, but it also has value in performing automated searches on individuals and automatically documenting the locations of mobile resources.
While the applications cannot live without MOVE, it also seems many officers can’t live without MOVE either. Officers rave about how user-friendly the software is and have refused to give up their notebooks. There is no going back to pencil and paper for them. Today, all state troopers in Alabama use the MOVE software, and about 90 percent of the local law enforcement agencies in the state use it as well.
MOVE has dramatically increased the timeliness of information sharing. Being able to access information more quickly helps officers make better decisions.
A good example of this is the LETS-Go search engine, which allows officers to see real-time information. For example, if a defendant has just received a warning ticket for speeding an hour before another officer pulls him over, the second officer would know to issue a citation and not a warning. The search engine also warns the officer if a defendant has warrants, protection orders or a dangerous record so they know how to better handle the situation.
Maury Mitchell, the director of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC), also speaks highly of MOVE. ACJIC controls the state’s message switch to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC), and is sponsoring the integration of NCIC with MOVE.
“LETS-Go has been such an aid to law enforcement that we want to expand it to provide NCIC access in MOVE,” says Mitchell. “This will give our officers even more information at the roadside in the timeliest manner. As always, security is of utmost importance to ACJIC, and we are building in multiple layers of authentication to the NCIC information.”
Many courts and police departments across the state pull the data captured from MOVE applications into their records management systems. So the Center for Advanced Public Safety researchers behind MOVE developed free web services for those seeking to integrate this data into their own systems.
“Cooperation is imperative to success,” says Dr. Allen Parrish, director of CAPS. “The law enforcement officers and the citizens of the state of Alabama are very fortunate that so many of our state agencies are willing to cooperate to provide these technological advances that increase safety and benefit us all.”