High Tech Law Enforcement

The new data network will help tremendously with mug shots and photo-line-ups. Right now, police officers in the cities have no way to pull up mug shots from the Harrison County jail. That means they have to stop what they're doing and drive to the jail to get the pictures they need. But soon, each city department will have the pictures available at its fingertips  It's one more high-tech tool available to law enforcement.

Computers store mug shots of each prisoner in the Harrison County Jail. Beginning in April, officers from the city police departments will be able to access those mug shots by logging onto the main computer at the jail. Sheriff George Payne says, "They will have computers from Pass Christian to Biloxi where investigators have immediate access to our entire pro-imaging system here at the jail. They can do their line-ups there at their respective cities. They won't have to do all the drive time... it's gonna save the taxpayers money, it's gonna save the investigators time and it's the start of sharing more information together."

The computer will show close face shots, or wide body shots, depending on what the officer needs. Technology is making law enforcement faster and easier, both in the office and in the patrol cars. Gulfport officers say in car cameras record every stop they make. Officer Gene Durfrene says, "It keeps everybody honest on both sides, law enforcement and it keeps the individual citizens honest as well. A lot of times people don't know there's cameras in some of the patrol cars and they'll file complaints and we'll produce a video tape and it's basically just null and void from there."

Gulfport officers save time too by using lap top computers to file reports. They say it sure beats the old way of filling out reports by hand. Officers say it's quick, especially if you have multiple reports of the same nature.

A 155-thousand dollar federal grant is paying for the new technology.