STARKVILLE and JACKSON — The Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) and Mississippi State University’s (MSU) Social Science Research Center (SSRC) have joined together to upgrade the state safety agency’s system for analyzing patrolman reports. Scientists at the university center are using satellite imagery to develop a pilot computer program that overlays traffic data about accidents, fatalities and other critical information into a mapping system.
SSRC director Art Cosby said the computer-based program enables officers to see in real time what is effective and to adjust their locations on the basis of the latest information. The previous pencil-and-paper system developed in the 1990s resulted only in basic information and required significant manpower and time to analyze individual trooper reports.
The MHP-MSU partnership is made possible by a $400,000 federal grant to the center’s Public Safety Data Laboratory. The grant ends later this year, but an additional $300,000 grant is being requested to help the program continue.
Now that it has proved successful with the MHP, the modernized reporting information could be applied to other state agencies, Cosby said.