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Linux fights crime in Mississippi

Law enforcement officials in three Mississippi counties will soon count on a Linux-based system to provide them with information about public safety.

The state of Mississippi today put Linux at the heart of its crime-fighting initiatives.

A Linux-based mobile system that links local authorities and agencies to public safety information rolled out today in three counties. The Mississippi Automated System Project enables police officers, for example, to have access to mug shots and arrest warrants from their vehicles.

The infrastructure behind the project includes an IBM iSeries 825 server in the backend and two xSeries 445 systems on the front end running SuSE Linux from Novell and an IBM DB2 database. Taratella Secure Global Desktop Enterprise Edition remote access software securely connects the system to the database.

As the system grows, multiple jurisdictions will be fused into single source of information.

"It is critical that all of our first responders have instant access to the critical information that can save lives, speed arrests and ensure public safety," said Major Julian Allen, Ph.D., director of the Automated System Project in a statement.

The project is funded via a $14 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security and was facilitated by Mississippi senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Trent Lott (R-MS). The senators hope the project eventually becomes the model for a national program.

This rollout supports police, fire and emergency medical services in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

The first phase of the implementation was finished in February when a single point of access to the existing jail management system of three county jails was developed.

The next phase, which began this month, allows integrated records management and computer aided dispatch for fire and law enforcement.

The final phase, scheduled for October, will implement the mobile data infrastructure - connecting laptops in all police, fire and emergency vehicles to multiple databases.

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