The Roswell Police Department announced Wednesday th at its grant application to the Justice Assistant Grant had been accepted. The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and RPD filed jointly for the federal grant designed for use by states and local law enforcement to make improvements.
The RPD’s share is $28,606.20, which will be used for computers in officers’ patrol units. The Sheriff’s Office will receive $12,259.80 for in-car computers and tasers.
The grant will pay for a small portion of the computer upgrades required by the RPD.
With their share of the grant money, the police will be able to purchase nine Panasonic Toughbook laptops, with docking hardware, priced at $3,000 apiece. Installation costs, also covered by the grant, are estimated at $1,606.
The Sheriff’s Office will be able to acquire and install four computers for use in their units, at an estimated $2,000 each, along with six tasers.
The RPD portion of the grant for the new computer equipment is only a part of the computer upgrade needed for the records department and dispatch. The Roswell City Council has already voted on budgeting $515,309 for system upgrades for the fiscal year of 2012.
Finance Officer Debra Morsey said the laptops supplied by the JAG will be completely integrated with the planned new system which will allow police officers to communicate with sheriff’s deputies and gain immediate access to records.
“The computers will work hand-in-hand with the Sheriff’s Offices, records department and computer-aided dispatch,” said Support Services Commander William Brown.
He reported that the new software chosen by RPD to upgrade its system is OSSI Sungard which is designed specifically for law enforcement and government agencies. “The contract was signed by City Administrator Larry Fry last week.”
According to Brown, the new system will reduce the amount of air time officers spend on calls and provide information to patrol units which will be accessible through the computer.
“Once the system is implemented, 90 percent of our records will be electronic,” Brown said.
The process to upgrade the entire system will take some time. Brown estimates the transition period will be between 18 to 24 months. “We have to convert data into a different format. We have set up the system to capture the information for federal standards and to capture information for our own needs.”
Eventually, patrol officers will be provided on-line with drop boxes which will allow them to input the information.
Reports will then be transferred electronically to the records department, which can then be printed out as needed.