The Marshall County Sheriff's Office will test an iPad in its new Dodge Charger, and if all goes well, it will purchase them for each of the three deputies set to drive the Chargers the department has ordered.
Sheriff Ted Kamatchus said it's a matter of practicality.
Cruisers and SUVs alike use laptop terminals the sheriff's office bought roughly five years ago with state grants, he said.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office will test a new iPad, like the one shown here, in its new Dodge Charger. If the device works to help alleviate space issues and increase deputy versatility as expected, others will be added to two new Chargers set to arrive in December.
However, the problem is that those terminals are designed to be put in an SUV, not a sports car, he said.
"They are quite large compared to the area that is available," Kamatchus said.
The iPads, which will also have Bluetooth keyboards, not only save space, they are less expensive than updating the laptops deputies currently have - which cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
Adding iPads to the cars will allow deputies to be more versatile in their investigations, he said. Deputies are able to use the iPads up to 400 feet from their car.
"The car has become a Wi-Fi hotspot," Kamatchus said.
The mobile device essentially acts as a remote to the laptop terminal, which will be installed in the trunk with ventilation system to regulate temperature and control dust.
Overcoming that distance hurdle will allow the deputy to take photos on site and more accurately record information because that deputy can take notes in real time. Perhaps the biggest benefit is one of safety.
"If there is an accident or something, there is not something flying around hitting someone," Kamatchus said.
Kamatchus said he anticipates the test run in Deputy Shane Switzer's car to go smoothly. If he has a concern he wants addressed during the trial, it is whether the iPad will scan driver's licenses.
The availability of applications the sheriff's office would use combined with a lower cost because of government discounts as well as free updates led to the sheriff's office opting for Apple over another brand, Kamatchus said.
The two new Chargers are scheduled to arrive in December.