Arming officers with BlackBerries

That’s the reaction of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service (CBRPS) towards a solution implemented by solution provider Xwave, which saw its officers equipped with customized BlackBerry handheld PDAs to access critical information on the go, and saw Xwave honoured with a Gold Award in the Mid-Market Solution category.

“We’re pleased,” said Brian Berube, an account manager in Xwave’s Ottawa office. “We were thrilled that our first implementation for the CBRPS was successful and is useful for that police service.”

The public safety market is not new territory for Xwave. The solution provider has worked with police services for years, and in 1989 began working with the RCMP to develop their dispatch and mobility system. From there, Xwave productized the computer-aided dispatch system and, having developed expertise in that area, marketed a solution using rugged in-car laptops to municipal police forces across Canada, and now to fire and emergency services as well.

However, the solution Xwave developed for the CBRPS was their first using handheld PDAs, which presented a host of challenges, said Berube. While handhelds are low cost and highly portable, making them accessible to police forces that don’t have the resources for an in-car laptop, they also have less horsepower and screen real estate to work with.

Security is another key consideration, Berube added.

“It was a solution that had to go through various levels of approval as it involved police networks and access to criminal information that’s stored with the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) in Ottawa,” said Berube. “It had to be a very secure solution, and we worked diligently over a period of (two years) to perfect the solution and get the necessary approvals in place.”

With the PDA, officers can query the CPIC database so they can know who they’re dealing with. Xwave is also forcing the CBRPS to enable access to their local criminal records information via the device. “If they stop someone that turns out to be a criminal they can find out on their Blackberry,” he said.

The Silver award went to Team SFA Inc, and the Bronze award to Konverge Digital Solutions Corp.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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