BIO-key contracts with Detroit schools

Sunday, January 1, 2006

DETROIT--BIO-key, a developer of mobile wireless technology for first-responders, announced last month a contract with the Detroit Public Schools for more than $180,000.
The company will supply the school system's Office of Public Safety with their PocketCOP software, which will operate on an initial run of 75 Blackberries over the Cingular Wireless Network. The software is designed to provide police and public safety officers with real-time information access to criminal justice databases, allowing, for instance, officers to look at driver's license photos on their hand-held devices. The devices themselves are protected by fingerprint biometrics.
Chief Charles Mitchell, director of the Office of Public Safety for Detroit Schools, said PocketCOP will enable him to put "police and security on the job more." Security officers will be able to link to the school database, "so they can see if a student has been suspended or expelled," and police officers will be able to patrol more on foot. "Instead of going back to the car," said Chief Mitchell, "they could just do it right there on the fly." And if the devices are lost or stolen, the access to the databases remains secure.
Chief Mitchell also said this will allow him to better serve the 22,000 employees and 150,000 students, located in 331 buildings throughout Detroit, despite what he called a recent "reduction in manpower." His division currently has 155 officers.
BIO-key provides solutions to more than 2,500 police, fire, and emergency services departments in North America, according to a press release from the company. Marketing director Julie Grant said that BIO-key has relationships with a number of wireless providers, like Cingular, and that BIO-key's software "is agnostic and will work on any hardware an integrator chooses for a job."