If Wi-Fi is everywhere (especially the free stuff)Â why can’t police departments use it?
The reason why I ask is because Iâ€™ve been playing with an idea involving existing Wi-Fi hot spots (think McDonaldâ€™s, Wendyâ€™s, Starbucks, Etcâ€¦) that are scattered throughout cities everywhere. As police departments become more reliant on digital data downloads/uploads for their jobs we see the expense for laptop data plans, hardware for police dedicated Wi-Fi spots, and the like greatly increasing. Technologies, such as NearMe, will continue to become more prevalent and the cost for data will become a pretty big chunk of change for a lot of police departments.
If some sort of software interface could be created that ensured that police data could be protected over these types of existing Wi-Fi spots, then I think this would be invaluable to departments. Think about it; Police officers around the country park at businesses to complete reports and consume data in different forms (NCIC checks, internal checks, etc..). Why not use the businessesâ€™ Wi-Fi to piggyback on instead of paying for cell data? The officer gets quicker wireless access (when compared to cell) and the business gets the comfort of knowing that an officer is parked out front (security). At night this is of particular importance to businesses, especially in high crime areas. This idea would dovetail nicely with departments that focus on Community Oriented Policing as it forms relationships with businesses.
The reason why I bring it up is because as I develop the framework around Location Based Policing one of the areas of interest is â€śavailable resourcesâ€ť. Obviously an entity like an emergency management agency would love to see where their emergency resources are on a map, but I think police could benefit from this idea also. Police departments might want to query where neighborhood watch leaders live or see if there are any police reserve entities around. LBP could also display where my WiFi connections are at so I can upload reports. Stuff like that.
Below is a screenshot (thanks to ipass.com)Â of some of the available hotspots in Lincoln, NE….there are 47!