August 4, 2009 By Elaine Rundle
The Phoenix Police Department uses digital pens when conducting threat vulnerability assessments of critical infrastructure to decrease the time period between information gathering and entry into a state database and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Constellation/Automated Critical Asset Management System (ACAMS). Arizona and the federal government mandate the collection of information regarding critical infrastructure, like bridges, and key resources sectors, like energy and water.
According to Gary Kennedy, terrorism liaison officer for the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, information collected about critical infrastructure includes addresses, points of contact, which sector the site belongs to, and other specifics depending on the sector. For example, if the infrastructure falls into the chemical sector, the assessment would include what chemicals are stored at the site.
Phoenix received an approximately $20,000 grant to purchase five digital pens and the accompanying software from Capturx Forms for Microsoft Excel and Capturx for ESRI's ArcGIS. Capturx enables the forms and maps to be printed with a special signature that allows the pen to track what form is being used and which box on the form is being written in. The pens write in ink and contain cameras that track what's being written and stores the information until it's connected to a computer.
Go to Emergency Management magazine's Web site for more information about how Phoenix uses digital pens to track its critical infrastructure.