Police director wants paperless force

In the not too distant future, police officers reaching for their holsters will pull out a pocket sized computer. The gadgets are revolutionizing police work.

You see Memphis police writing traffic tickets with them now. But these handy gadgets can do so much more. James Bolden, Memphis Police Director said, "We'll be able to check suspects just by a thumbprint out in the field where it can do queries throughout the nation in a matter of seconds to know whether we have wanted parties." The tiny computers can show mug shots, giving officers another means of identifying suspects anywhere, anytime. "I guarantee with something like this you would see a substantial reduction in the crime rate in this area. And if it's good for Memphis and the Mid-South, you know, it'll be good for the nation."

James Bolden, Memphis Police Director, wants to approach the Homeland Security Department for the 5 million dollars he estimates it'll cost to outfit every Memphis cop with a palm pilot, other computer hardware and the service to back it all up. Bolden says the computers would allow his force to go paperless, instantly e-mailing incident reports. The current system requires officers to write out details of each incident on paper and takes up to 72 hours to get into the current reporting system. "I would like to see in my tenure here as police director, I'd like to see that time cut to 10 minutes."

Bolden says computers would speed key information to police in critical situations. The police director also says going paperless would cut administrative overhead costs, reducing the time officers spend writing reports. Director Bolden says it currently takes six-to eight-weeks for an accident report to get to Nashville. That could be cut to a matter of minutes once a police hand held computer system is fully functional.