The Saukville (Wis.) Police Department installed a mobile, VPN solution that operates over cellular networks developed by Columbitech that was installed by systems integrator, DCS Netlink, to obtain secure access to remote data from laptops while working in the field.

Before the installation, the department used a land mobile radio-based system that provided a slow connection and limited access to applications and data, said Police Chief William Meloy—a 40-year veteran of law enforcement. He said nearly 18 years ago, the county went to an 800 MHz trunking system that linked law enforcement, fire and EMS. Mobile laptops and its applications now have to be tied to the system.

“It sometimes limits access back to our records systems, and we couldn’t connect with other databases that the state of Wisconsin has, like criminal record databases,” he said. “So we were looking for an affordable, reliable use of cellular as a solution.”

Meloy said the system meets the department’s security requirements, including two-factor authentication as well as military-grade FIPS 140-2 encryption. As a result, police officers can securely connect to applications such as traffic and criminal software well as the Internet and e-mail while in the field, rather than waiting to return to their desk, he said.

“I can take my laptop and remotely access records within a few seconds,” Meloy said.

To learn more about the VPN system, contact the chief directly at bmeloy@village.saukville.wi.us.