By Sonya Campbell

Harker Heights Herald

BELTON - The Belton Police Department has equipped 11 of its patrol cars with "cutting-edge technology" that provides officers with a number of advantages in the field – mobile data terminals.

In late 2010, the city was awarded $700,000 in federal appropriations for public safety enhancements.

Part of the money was used to purchase 12 MDTs for the police department, which included an extra device.

The overall cost was $110,623, including hardware, software, installation and air-card time for three years.

Prior to buying the devices, the police department researched various mobile data computer vendors, either through presentations, discussing the matter with other law enforcement agencies or making site visits.

The BPD then learned about a new product being used in Tulsa, Okla., which offered the flexibility of a handheld device while also providing the functionality of a full-size mobile date terminal when docked in a car – a Panasonic CF-U1/PDRC.

Commander Mike Rhoden traveled to Tulsa to check out such a device and determined it offered "the best solution for Belton."

Not only do the MDTs offer access to more data by officers in the field, the devices also provide silent dispatching with messaging between units and Bell County Communications, as well as the ability to check for warrants and stolen vehicles and complete reports.

An officer from each shift trained on using the device and then trained others on their shift.

The devices were deployed in April.

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