Police in multiple jurisdictions can now track suspects in otherjurisdictions through a shared computer database accessible inpolice cruisers.

The project is one of 27 ventures introducing innovativetechnological ways of making catching criminals easier and was madepossible by a grant from the province to Ontario PoliceServices.

“The funding was useful in that it allowed Police Services todevelop information systems and purchase hardware to enable thesharing of information electronically,” said Tony Brown,spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and CorrectionalServices.

The objective is to improve community safety and have moreeffective criminal investigations through electronic sharing ofinformation, he said. “The system will also be a time-saver forinvestigators.”

“Traditionally, if I was an investigator in Hamilton and I wasinvestigating a case, because the bad guys don’t honourjurisdictional lines, I would phone my counterpart in Halton,” saidTom Marlor, deputy chief of the Hamilton Police. “Then there wouldbe a process of finding the information needed and sending iteither through fax or mail to the other police department.”

The new system makes querying other cities’ databases possible,even on a national level, he said.

“The national concept was to be able to allow us with thatproper security and authority to go into other people’s databasesand look and see what they had,” said Marlor.

The system is not just connecting police in Ontario, about 25per cent of officers in Canada currently have access to thedatabase in jurisdictions spanning Halifax to Vancouver, said EldonAmoroso, senior director, Support Services, London PoliceService.