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RFID Tracks Arrests for Florida Sheriff's Office

Guardian RFID's Arrestee Management System, installed in time for the Tampa Republican National Convention, will provide the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office with an automated method for tracking every step of the booking process.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 01, 2012Eight years ago, the 2004 Republican National Convention was held in New York City, attracting political protesters. Some of those individuals later filed lawsuits claiming they were falsely arrested by NYC police officers, or were detained for excessive lengths of time. The city is still seeking the dismissals of those suits, but in the meantime, the legal costs are adding up.

When the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office began planning for the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (which took place on Aug. 27-30), it wanted to ensure that if mass arrests became necessary, they would be tracked through the proper booking process. The department had already been using Codex Corp.'s Guardian RFID solution (see Wristbands Document Interactions Between Prisoners and Officers) within its lockdown unit, and asked the company for a system that would enable it to track arrests and subsequent bookings.

Lt. Scott Smith (left) and Cpl. Howard Lindsey, of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, demonstrate Guardian RFID's Arrestee Management System.

In response, Codex Corp. developed the RFID Arrestee Management System (AMS), which is now being marketed to other agencies and government entities as a way to record when and where an individual was arrested, by which officer, the vehicle in which he or she was transported and where that person was booked—as well as every step of the booking process.

By the time this year's Republican convention began, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office had set up the AMS solution, utilizing its existing readers to access the Codex-hosted server that managed and displayed read data. The office also purchased approximately 1,500 RFID-enabled wristbands. As it turned out, by the time the convention had ended, only two arrests had been made in which the wristbands were used. The technology still proved that it worked, says Colonel James Previtera, a member of the Department of Detention Services for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Previtera says he could see the sheriff's office using the Arrestee Management System on a day-to-day basis if the county's budget would allow it.

As part of the AMS solution, the wristband includes a 13.56 MHz Texas Instruments RFID tag compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, says Ken Dalley Jr., Codex Corp.'s president. As the system was designed, when a Tampa police officer made an arrest, he or she then turned the individual over to the sheriff's office. At that time, the county officer fastened a wristband around that person's wrist and used a Pidion Bluebird BIP-6000 handheld reader to interrogate the tag and photograph the individual. The officer also scanned the bar code of the arresting officer's ID badge. That data was then forwarded to the back-end software residing on Codex's cloud-based server, via a Wi-Fi connection, using a mobile hotspot connected to transport vans provided by the county.

The AMS software enabled the officer to use the reader's touch screen to enter the location of the arrest, as well as the individual's property at the time that the arrest occurred, such as a backpack or a purse. An RFID tag was also affixed to the back door of two buses on which individuals were to be loaded and then transported to the station. County officers used the interrogator to read the bus' tag, along with the individual's wristband tag, linking that person with that specific bus. The vehicle was also equipped with a GPS tracking unit, so that its location could be stored on the cloud-based server.

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