From notebook to computer
Yellowknife RCMP moving toward electronic filing system

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 28/97) - Yellowknife mounties are trading in their notepads for laptop computers.

The program is part of a Canada-wide RCMP initiative to cut the paper trail, said Yellowknife Cpl. Bob Poland.

"We have thousands of pieces of paper in our files right now, and with this system, there will be minimum paper," he said.

Poland said that the system has drastically reduced the amount of paper at the Regina RCMP detachment, where the system is already in place.

SPURS, or Simplified Paperless Universal Reporting System, will give officers the ability to cut out paper files by recording data on a laptop computer mounted on a console inside police cruisers.

Officers will store the data on disks and download it onto a central detachment computer when they come back into the office.

"Information will be kept in the electronic form and anything that you need will be printed," said Poland. "And this goes for court. They will still use notebooks to take verbatim information on writing pads."

Expected to be in place by September, the system is easy to implement and its cost is minimal, Poland maintained. "We already have the equipment. We're replacing some monitors, and we're buying some laptops that we needed anyway."

Poland said that the laptops they may be buying are "ruggedized" so that they can withstand the Northern temperatures.

"We have to be careful using them in low temperatures," he said.

The system will save police officers' time, as well as make the filing system easier to access.

The SPURS system is the first step to computerizing police-related files.

The move to go electronic is a way to keep the officer on the street solving crimes, not filling out paper work.