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Red Hat Magazine: Open Source in the Force: One Officer Speaks

Apr 16, 2005, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon S. Nelson)

"It takes new police officers a very short time to realize that the worst part of the job is all of the paperwork. Some incidents require three or four reports to complete, most having the same information, all with a narrative. When I first started, officers were expected to type multi-part forms or handwrite them with no mistakes. My first thought when I encountered this mountain of paperwork was how much easier this would be with a computer. When I came on the force in 1994 there were no computers available to officers for everyday use, and anyone who brought in their own was looked down on.

"One day I couldn't take it anymore. I found some old 8086 machines, monochrome monitors, and dot-matrix printers that were being used as doorstops. When I brought them in I got some very strange looks. I found an old DOS program to print onto multi-part forms and worked on my time off configuring the software..."

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