Police in Fort Wayne, Ind., wanted squad-car computers with large touch-screens that didn’t wash out in sunlight but wouldn’t be too bright at night, says the Detroit News. They also wanted a backlit, detachable keyboard to make writing reports easier, and it needed to be waterproof for those inevitable accidents that come with working on the road. The department turned to a small business in Novi that builds custom computer systems for specific uses. Now 300 squad cars patrolling Fort Wayne have OEM Micro Solutions’ specially made computers bolted between the front seats, and 65 more will be installed soon. “Everything that we asked for, they were able to provide,” said Fort Wayne police officer Stephanos Gersos. “It’s more functional for us. And it’s a great deal more rugged than the laptops that we had started using five or six years ago.” Three crashes that totaled cars equipped with the computers showed how rugged they are. OEM Micro Solutions President and CEO David Downs said two of the computers were undamaged and the third needed only a new hard drive. Downs is optimistic its “mobile tactical computers” soon will become integral parts of many more police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances.
The mobile tactical computers, which generally cost between $4,500 and $5,500 each, are the only product that Downs is marketing to multiple companies. Usually Downs’ staff designs and builds systems specifically for each customer.