Law From a Laptop

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This week, the Walton County Sheriff's Office will begin using a new mobile computer system called Smartcop, a system the deputies see as a smart move.

Ralph Johnson, Walton County Sheriff, says, “All of them are very excited about it. It will save them a lot of time coming to the office. They can enter their reports from the car."

With laptops in each cruiser they become rolling substations. Also, deputies can look up a driver’s information on their own instead of waiting for a dispatcher who can only talk to one person at a time.

Locally, Santa Rosa, Escambia and Okaloosa Counties already use Smartcop. This means Walton County will have access to their records as well. The $300,000 system also includes voice recognition to keep deputies eyes on the road.

"Thirty years ago they had a similar system in Pinellas County when I was stationed there and when they went to the laptop, we did as Highway Patrol troopers investigate accidents from deputies running into vehicles in front of them.”

Just in case, Solitaire and the Internet have been locked out. Fifteen of the laptops will hit the streets this week, with a full rollout by October 1.