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Law enforcement going paperless

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Unless you're incredibly organized, it's never easy sifting through piles of paper to find just what you need. In fact it can eat up a lot of time; hours, minutes, even seconds that can be precious for law enforcement workers.

Paper records will soon be a thing of the past for the police department and sheriff's office, a new upgrade in technology has allowed them to go "paperless".

It's called Mobile Field Reporting, where everything will be done electronically.

The new program merges two key functions for law enforcement, writing electronic reports and viewing dispatch records of where every squad is located. Olmsted County Sheriff's Captain Waletzki said it boils down to efficiency.

"The officer can write their report in their squad car and they can send it to their supervisor over the computer terminals that are in their squads. Then, the officers can send it back for corrections or they can forward it and it goes directly into our records management system," said Waletzki.

It never used to be that simple though. In the past, officers would have to write a report, drive back to the law enforcement center, print off a copy, then have their supervisor sign it before it could be filed, taking them away from keeping our streets safe.

"Saves them time from having to make copies or manually file the system," explained Waletzki.

The record division is in the process of scanning old offenders reports into the system, something that Waletzki said could take time.

"There's thousands of reports over the years so this new system is for any reports that we create from this day forward."

Besides the new program, other safety features like GPS, and touch screen computers in the squads have also helped to keep law enforcement safe behind the wheel. In a world of every changing technology it seems local officials are right on track.

Only the sheriff's office and police department are able to access the database, it's not universal among other agencies.

As for how much money it will save the agencies that figure is still up in the air.

However, the price tag for the entire system upgrade was $300,000 dollars. Funds were taken out of both departments technology budgets, splitting it down the middle, at $150,000 dollars a piece.

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