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Schertz Motorcycle Police Unit Improves Efficiencies, Community, and Officer Safety

schertz-bannerWhen it came to equipping the Schertz Police Department motorcycle units with the technology to access mission-critical information, they lagged behind the patrol car units. The patrols cars are equipped with rugged laptop computers, providing officers with access to the information needed to make informed decisions and keep themselves, and constituents, safe. 

Customer Challenge 

The motorcycle unit did carry cell phones and have e-citation devices, but they could not access the information available to patrol car units or have GPS tracking. “We were carrying several devices to perform a variety of functions, but we were still lacking GPS location tracking and we couldn’t access our mobile CAD software and Records Management System (RMS) to get the real-time information we needed on perpetrators,” says Dallas Berry, Schertz Police Public Safety Information Systems Administrator. 

“We were looking for a mobile computing system that was multi-functional. We needed a Windows device that could support all our applications in other places; GPS tracking, magstripe reading, signature capture, color camera. Plus provide real-time communications, allow access to our mobile CAD system, enable on-site accident reporting, and consolidate the number of devices officers are required to carry. 

MobileDemand Solution 

The MobileDemand xTablet handles all our applications with ease. When the device is locked down on the motorcycles, we can get detailed directions and routing instructions directly accessible by the officer,” Berry says. “When we need to, we can undock the device, take pictures, timestamp, and Geo-tag them. We can also use the magstripe reader to swipe drivers’ licenses and capture signatures for e-Citations.” The full Microsoft Windows operating system and powerful Intel processor have allowed the force to access all the various applications used in the office or by the patrol car units. 

Working with Schertz and RAM Mounts, MobileDemand developed a custom solution that would mount the tablets on the motorcycle handlebar. The display could be easily seen without obstructing or interfering with the officers’ view. 

“They have been able to hold up in the Texas heat, rain and constant humidity.” Texas summer temperatures top 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Motorcycle unit officers work a 10-hour shift in the full sun and excessive heat. “The computers used in the patrol cars spend most of the day in an air-conditioned environment. But the xTablets are out in the elements, with extreme temperatures and the glaring sun all day. They’re also out in the rain, and they’re getting beat on,” Berry says. “We have yet to have the xTablet fail or shutdown from exposure to excessive heat or moisture. The performance we are seeing with the MobileDemand tablets far exceeds our expectations.” 

The new xView Pro technology is one of many xTablet features that helps officers be more productive outdoors in the bright sunlight as well as in low light environments. It provides a reflective mode for enhanced viewing in the most intense sunlight and a backlit transflective mode for superior viewing in low light conditions. The xView Pro display also supports full motion video. Along with the 5 MP color camera, Schertz officers can now document accidents and include videos and photos in incident reports. 


The MobileDemand xTablets have streamlined operations for the Schertz Police Motorcycle units in several ways. 

The tablets have helped officers become more efficient by shortening response times, better utilizing resources, and cutting costs. The tablets keep the information flowing from the time of a call for service to dispatching an officer on site, cutting down on radio time thus leaving the lines open for more emergency calls. “The tablets allow us to stay out where we’ve been assigned, closer to where the problems are. This keeps the force available to respond quicker when needed.” 

The tablets enable officers to perform tasks in the field that used to require them to go back to headquarters to complete. “Instead of driving 30 minutes to and from our assigned area, we can complete all our reports onsite,” says Berry. “We can simply undock the tablet and do our reports, write up narratives, capture images of a crime or accident scene, map it out, and even check their email out on location.” 

“The tablets have made them far more efficient while cutting costs. We spend less on gas and wear and tear on the vehicles. We will also be able to cut down on the number of devices that need to be deployed to the force which will save on upfront, maintenance and repair costs.” 

Since deploying the xTablets, the officers feel safer. “The GPS tracking on the tablets is rock solid. It provides accurate turn-by-turn directions and has helped so much with officer safety. Officers have a true sense now that someone else has their back. When they are in route to a call, headquarters knows where they are always at. When they’ve been dispatched to a residence, the tablet provides instant access to caution notes and area advisories in real time.” 

In addition, the tablets allow the Schertz Police Department to work more efficiently with other agencies. “We go on shared EMS service calls. Both agencies get dispatched to the same incident. There are notes that go with the service that everyone sees. We all get updated in real time. We never could do all this without a device like the xTablet,” Berry says. 

The Schertz Police Department plans to implement a new crash reporting method from the Texas Department of Transportation. The tablet is an ideal form factor for supporting this application. “It’s going to have a full-blown smart screen mapping and diagramming capability that can be used for any kind of accident you can imagine. We’re going to use the tablets to map out the entire scene,” Berry continues. 

What began as a test has resulted in a solution that is being regarded as an innovative model for other agencies. “Officers from the city of San Antonio came down to see the xTablets in action. They were thrilled. They never conceived of mounting tablets on the motorcycles like we’ve done. We’re setting a precedent by taking a simple step toward greater fleet uniformity and improved officer and community safety,” Berry concludes. 

Community and officer safety are paramount for the Schertz Police Department and access to mission-critical data at the fingertips of its officers in the field is key. These were the driving forces behind their decision to equip the motorcycle units with xTablets.