Groveland police using new high-tech patrolling

Groveland police Officer David Hurst on patrol in downtown Groveland. // Provided photo

New high-tech tools for patrol officers are giving Groveland businesses another layer of security.

The Groveland Police Department recently began using a new patrol system for businesses, Quick Response (QR) Patrol, which turns the officers’ cellphones into multimedia communication and reporting devices. The department is believed to be the first one in Lake County to use the system, a news release states.

Traditionally, police officers make their rounds from patrol cars, using a spotlight to check on possible tampered locks or unauthorized people inside businesses. With the new QR Patrol system, Groveland officers get a closer look at the business and can document any unusual circumstances with images or audio. They also can pull up a profile on the business.

“What appeals to me about the program is that it provides another tool that encourages our officers to engage directly with businesses and business owners in an effort to be more vigilant and even more community-oriented,” Police Chief Shawn Ramsey says in the release.

The new system is popular among business owners, with a growing number signing up. There is no charge to the owner. Businesses fill out an application that includes emergency contacts. Participating businesses’ information is loaded into all the patrol officers’ cellphones.

Once a company is registered, an officer applies a unique QR Patrol decal near the entrance of the business. When officers patrol the facility, they scan the code, which documents the time they were at the business and who was on patrol. The system also records the location by longitude and latitude. If there are signs of a break-in or other unusual sights or sounds, those can be transmitted by the phone, according to the release.

The city of Groveland is one of the participants and has QR Patrol codes on all city buildings. The cost to the city for the new program is about $600.