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Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department www.lasd.org
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is the largest sheriff’s department in the world, with over 18,000 employees. The department provides law enforcement to over 153 unincorporated communities and 42 cities in California.
Replace in-vehicle routers across the fleet while maintaining integrity of dispatch system.
Working with Sierra Wireless and GST, LASD was able to smoothly make the transition without endangering officers in the field. Technology partners worked to ensure back-end infrastructure was tightly integrated, making the upgrade seamless and safe.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is the largest sheriff’s department in the world, with over 18,000 employees. The department provides law enforcement to over 153 unincorporated and 42 cities in Southern California.
The Sheriff’s Department also provides specialized services, such as crime laboratories, homicide investigations, and academy training, to smaller law enforcement agencies in the county.
LASD relies on a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to deploy resources across its 4,000 plus square mile service area. Calls coming into 9-1-1 go to the CAD system and then to an automated vehicle location (AVL) system provided by GeoSpatial Technologies (GST) that displays incident and vehicle locations, status, and critical information. On the vehicle mobile data computer (MDC), a GST digital map application showing the location of the sister vehicles assists deputies in their response to an incident or location. Besides providing deputies with in-vehicle mapping, the AVL system enables command staff and field deputies to know the exact location of resources across its jurisdiction, enabling quicker response to calls and operational awareness. LASD has been using this system for over 12 years. GST maintains the system and does custom development for LASD.
In each vehicle, an cellular router manufactured by Sierra Wireless, takes care of wireless connectivity for each application, including the AVL system, laptops, and license plate recognition (ALPR) systems. The router connects applications over the best available network, with access to FirstNet™ cellular as primary and T-Mobile as back-up, and provides Wi-Fi connectivity when the vehicle is within range of the station hot spot, which helps with large software updates.
LASD hosts its own on-premises management system in its data center. The AirLink® Mobility Manager and AirLink® Connection Manager allow real-time management of the fleet and end-to-end security of all data transmission. GST’s server is also resident in LASD’s data center, and the integration between the AirLink and GST systems is transparent, allowing the systems to share GPS location and providing storage of all call information.
In 2019, LASD acquired the latest generation Sierra Wireless routers (Airlink MG90) for their 3,000 vehicles. The router switches traffic based on user-defined criteria and signal strength, providing high availability connectivity for field deputies anytime, anywhere, and does this switching transparently.
LASD needed to ensure that the migration to the new router technology would be seamless with the existing network and server infrastructure. In addition, since deployment would take place over several months, the team needed to ensure that new hardware could run in parallel alongside the existing system. A mix of old and new hardware involved different data types and formats and with both datasets coming in, GST worked diligently to ensure the data flowed without interruption and combined properly with the databases, making a successful migration.
The primary goal for LASD was to ensure the mapping application remained at its full service level, providing deputy safety throughout the integration process.
While we are the largest sheriff’s department in the world, we don’t have unlimited resources available to support the technology deployed throughout our operation.
Working closely together, GST and Sierra Wireless were able to manage a seamless transition from old routers to the new MG90 at LASD.
GST has worked with LASD and AirLink® routers for years, and has developed many custom functionalities for LASD. For example, the router sends latitude and longitude of each vehicle regularly but if a vehicle isn’t moving, it doesn’t make sense to clog the network with this data. GST and Sierra worked together to change this so that if vehicle location didn’t change, no GPS data would be sent saving valuable database storage space and reducing network usage.
Another enhancement includes sending speed and location data of a moving vehicle. If vehicle speed is 80 mph, it makes more sense to send location data every 2 seconds instead of every 5 seconds. The system can also be set up to send alerts of a G-force impact or the deployment of an airbag. Alerts can be generated when lights and sirens are turned on, as well as when the rifle rack is unlocked, giving dispatchers a clear view of what is happening in the field. And with this information all being integrated with mapping technology, dispatchers can see precisely what is happening and determine if additional resources need to be dispatched.
Having both the AirLink® management and GST servers in their data center gives LASD flexibility they wouldn’t have with a cloud service. LASD maintains its own local maps and GIS data, so they can dynamically change districts and boundary map layers. Deputies that log in to one station for a shift and then another station for the next shift will have their vehicle dynamically put into the correct station group. The tight integration of these systems and the enhancements that the two companies have been able to provide for LASD increases deputy safety.
Our work with Sierra Wireless and GST demonstrates how law enforcement agencies can bridge the resource gap by working closely with technology vendors.
“While we are the largest sheriff’s department in the world, we don’t have unlimited resources available to support the technology deployed throughout our operation, said LASD Lieutenant Mark Guerrero. “Our work with Sierra Wireless and GST” demonstrates how law enforcement agencies can bridge the resource gap by working closely with technology vendors. We were really pleased that we were able to complete the transition to the MG90’s seamlessly with the help of Sierra and GST. The GPS continued to be passed to both systems until the transition was complete, and we didn’t have a single issue.”
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
AirLink Routers MG90
AirLink Mobility Manager (AMM)
AirLink Connection Manager (ACM)