Thanks to a new computer system, some Grovetown Department of Public Safety officers now have vital information at their fingertips.
Four of the department's patrol cars have been outfitted with laptop computers equipped with wireless access to the national and state crime information centers.
"I wish we'd have done it sooner," Chief A.L. Robinson said.
The National Crime Information Center is a computerized index of criminal justice information, including criminal histories, fugitive records, stolen properties and missing persons. The access allows officers to check tags, vehicles and people at the site of traffic stops or other incidents without having to use their radios and wait for a dispatcher to run the check.
"You can do everything from right there in the car," Robinson said.
The laptop systems cost $6,800, paid to the American Law Enforcement Network, and include Dell computers, mounting hardware for the patrol cars and the wireless access.
The cost was covered with funds donated from the Builders Association of Metro Augusta, Grovetown builders Mark Herbert and R.L. Hayes and many city businesses, Robinson said.
"It was the best money we ever spent," he said, adding that the computers increase efficiency. "I wish we had them in every car."
Officers with the computers also can use the laptops to write up their incident and accident reports. The computers are not yet linked with the department's reporting system and computer records, but Robinson said he hopes his officers soon will be able to input reports directly into the system.
Robinson said he plans to add computers every few months to more of the department's 12 remaining patrol cars.
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