Sarnia police getting BlackBerries

Written By Mekhels Linxets on Thursday, November 10, 2011 | 12:11 PM

Sarnia police officers will soon be outfitted with BlackBerry phones. The Sarnia Police Services Board approved the $48,996 project in a special meeting Friday. The force will soon acquire 100 phones free of charge as part of a three-year contract with Telus Communications. Each BlackBerry will be equipped with a voice and data plan valued at $59 per month.

Currently, the city's police cruisers aren't equipped with computers. Instead front line officers use cellphones that connect with a dictaphone.

BlackBerry phones will allow officers to run a licence plate number and query a suspect away from their cruisers.

"We'd be able to retrieve reports, for example, on the system rather than coming into the station and getting it," said Chief Phil Nelson.

BlackBerry phones are currently the only device that meets the security standards of the Canadian Police Information Centre. The RCMP-run database provides records, like licence plate numbers and warrants, to police officers across the country.

Sarnia Police Services will purchase a security software package valued at $19,700 from Mobile Innovations. It will also utilize tech support to the tune of $3,150 annually. Additional hardware, like computer servers and access cards, will be purchased at a one-time cost of $29,296. [readmore in]