- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

HOUMA, La. (AP) - Expensive and outdated computer equipment in the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office’s patrol cars has been replaced with cheaper, more modern technology.

The program, which began last year, replaced all of the cars’ laptop computers with iPads.

“Our computers were old and causing problems so we purchased and installed the iPads, and they work perfectly,” Sheriff Jerry Larpenter told Courier (https://bit.ly/1bNkq6h). “The patrolmen and detectives love them.

“Law enforcement is not just about putting handcuffs on people; it’s all about technology and keeping ourselves one step ahead of the criminals. The criminals have this technology, and now so do we.”

The previous computer systems cost about $3,000 per vehicle.

The new system, which includes the tablets, Bluetooth keyboards and heavy duty cases, cost about $500 per car.

Larpenter said he thinks Terrebonne is the only sheriff’s office statewide that has switched completely to iPads, adding that area police agencies are watching to see how his experience goes.

“Technology is getting cheaper. When the first flat-screen televisions came out, they cost thousands of dollars, and now you can get them for only hundreds,” the sheriff said. “Nothing is cheap, but these iPads are worth it. We need the new technology in order for us to solve crimes.”

The iPads are also easier to maintain.

“Ninety percent of my time used to be spent fixing and replacing the computers,” Lt. Bobby Dupre said. “Since we’ve installed the new iPads, we haven’t had a single problem.”

The iPads function much like the computers did. Officers use the tablets with specialized apps for tasks such as crash reporting and evidence management.

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Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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