Blog // Connect South Carolina

Spartanburg: QR Codes, iPads, & Mobile Offices, oh my!

By Jennifer Cobb

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you know what QR codes are. They are the black and white squares that kind of look like a puzzle piece and can be scanned and linked to a website or virtual store, among other uses. 

In Spartanburg, the public safety committee is adding these QR codes to its patrol vehicles in order to take advantage of mobile technology. These QR codes will send smartphone users to the city's police, fire, and animal services websites and social media pages.

The QR codes will also be printed on communications materials, including public safety business cards, distributed to individuals and families in the city.

Once a QR code is scanned either from a patrol vehicle or business card, citizens will be directed to a department’s website or social media page. From there, mobile users can see updates about upcoming police activities in the community. This also allows the public safety committee to share critical emergency information instantaneously.

“The goal for the use of the QR codes is to connect with the people we provide service to so we can keep them informed,” said City of Spartanburg Police Department Captain Regina Nowak.  “We post information to include special events, street closings, evacuations, crimes in progress, crime trends, crime prevention tips, and other relevant topics.” 

The animal services team in Spartanburg is one of the few agencies that utilizes iPads in the field. Their vehicles become mobile offices where they record each animal incident and upload the file into the city’s Records Management System through their iPads. And, although police officers are not equipped with iPads, they too use their patrol cars as mobile offices. Through Internet connectivity, officers are able to take and transmit incident and traffic reports and access databases from their cars, something that previously had to be done by hand and at a desk.

“We also recently completed an update to our GIS system.  Hopefully within the next month, citizens will be able to access crime data over the Internet. You will be able to view crime by geographic areas and by selecting the type of crime and the time frame you are looking for,” explained Nowak.  “Ultimately we are trying to provide timely and accurate information about what is going on in the City of Spartanburg.“

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