Look, we all have been there. Computers are hard to use and understand. The world is much easier with printed maps.

San Clemente has a new tool designed to make it easier for sheriff’s deputies to organize their response if a San Clemente school or neighborhood is struck by an emergency.

A set of more than 100 maps arrived Tuesday at City Hall. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department installed them in a custom-built cabinet/plotting table in San Clemente Police Services’ command vehicle, which is on duty around the clock.

Oh my! Let’s see out of date printed maps? Check. Custom built cabinet/plotting table made by police chief cousin? Check. What better solution can we think of for police officers who need the latest information? While I did grow up in San Clemente, I can only assume that their Sheriff’s deputies cars don’t have computers in them, right?

“We had an incident about two weeks ago,” said sheriff’s Lt. John Coppock, chief of police services in San Clemente. “We had a parolee who was wanted in connection with a stolen vehicle up in the Shorecliffs area. He ran from the deputies into a neighborhood, going over fences. The sergeant could have gotten a map out for that particular area and used markers to set up perimeter locations for the deputies. It helps them contain and organize the situation.”

Now I can totally understand this, Shorecliffs is no longer the garden spot of San Clemente. But serious, a sergeant is going to go back to the command vehicle and leaf through aerial maps on their custom plotting table? It gets better!

The aerial map of San Clemente High School could have come in handy in September, Coppock said, when a bomb scare forced evacuation of more than 3,000 students. Using the marriage of aerial maps and a database, deputies soon will be able to identify individual classrooms, learn the occupancy of each, plot potential evacuation routes or set up a search, Moore said.

So this custom cabinet/plotting table will have room for Excel spreadsheets! Oh and that HP plotter down at the precinct should have those maps printed off in about 3 hours.

Ben Webb, Digital Map Products’ customer success manager, said the company created the mapping system with the best imagery available and Orange County’s latest parcel information. “For (the Sheriff’s Department), this is going to be the most effective and the most efficient way to help them do their job in a better way.”

The imagery must be good, but this can’t be the most effective way can it? I may have to get into the “custom-built cabinet/plotting table business. In all seriousness, this is what I would have done if I was in the planning meeting for such a “solution”.

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