ORLANDO-Pocket Cop is as close to a Dick Tracy TV wrist watch as anyone has come up with so far, say founders of Public Safety Group, a locally-based startup software firm.

The hand-held, data base-access system allows police to run license plates checks, communicate silently with headquarters and call up arrest warrants while investigating on the scene.

The product has been on the market for a month and is already being used by law enforcement agencies in Texas and Illinois. The eight-month-old firm projects sales of 2,000 at $1,495 each, or $3 million over the next 18 months.

But its marketing plans may be crimped by an ongoing lawsuit filed by the five founders’ former employer, HTE Inc. of Lake Mary, FL. The suit alleges Patrick J. Kurz, Public Safety Group’s president, and his four partners violated individual non-compete contracts by starting their own firm and designing software programs similar to HTE’s products. The defendants deny the charges.

Pocket Cop uses Palm Inc.’s hand-held organizers to give police wireless Internet access to state, local and federal government computers holding criminal records. Pocket Cop works on two Palm modules–the Palm VII, which has a built-in wireless modem, and the Palm V, which uses a clip-on wireless modem.

Public Safety Group’s Kurz says the nearest product to Pocket Cop on the market is a Palm application offered by a California company. That product, however, works only with the California company’s computer-aided police dispatch system, Kurz says.

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