City officials and law enforcement executives in Poughkeepsie, New York, are pleased to receive a new grant for the police department to upgrade its emergency response communication software, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.
Previously, land lines were used for dispatchers when workers took 911 calls for the police department, fire station and after-hour calls to the Poughkeepsie Public Works Department. According to the source, when cell phone 911 calls are made, the signal is originally sent to the Dutchess County 911 center to get a better location on the call, but it's eventually transferred back to one of two dispatch centers in the county.
Their old computer system could barely keep up with the amount of calls and an upgrade was needed.
"[The computers are] going all the time," Jon Bernard, a senior public safety dispatcher told the Poughkeepsie Journal. "(They) never get shut off."
Grants helping police departments catch up on technology
Just two years ago, the police department received a grant of $209,500 primarily sent from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, the source reported.
"Crime has gone down across our state in the last several years and the state is continuing to invest in making New York safer," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an official statement. "The safety of New Yorkers is a top priority for the State, and these grants will help local Police and Sheriff departments purchase the tools they need to fight and prevent crime."
The funds went to 13 district police departments and $20,000 was allocated to the city police department to improve computers for the dispatch center and for some patrol car laptops that are used in the field. Law executives see communication as a staple in running an effective police department.
The laptops used in the police cars are proving to be helpful for officers in the field. Knapp told the source the laptops are getting the most use from the grant. Officers and residents are hopeful the new technology will reduce crime in the city.
"Dispatch is critical for the city," said Chief Ron Knapp of the Poughkeepsie Police Department, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.
The police department was worried about the quality and the speediness of the response from the dispatch center since it runs on older land lines. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, more than 100,000 calls came into the dispatch center in 2013, and 15,000 were a 911 emergency. Of the total number of 911 direct calls, 5,000 were land line calls and 10,000 came from cell phones.