Ewing NJ PD to make technological upgrades
The Ewing, New Jersey, Police Department is taking steps toward major technology upgrades for patrol officers. State news website NJ.com reported on a group of additions that will benefit local officers, including an upgrade to the onboard cameras and computers used in patrol cars, as well as the potential addition of body cameras to the standard duty kit. Local government recently approved an initial measure that will allow town officials to complete a bond issue to pay for the new equipment. While this method relies on the purchase of bonds to fund the new technology, it's an approach that is often successful for municipalities and doesn't require an additional line item in the annual budget - a major advantage for towns that don't have excess funds quickly available.
A much-needed server upgrade
Along with the addition of new hardware for officers on the street, the Ewing Police Department needs to upgrade its technology infrastructure. The organization has experienced ongoing problems with the servers used to hold the digital images captured by current dashboard computers, and could risk the potential of losing valuable evidence without adding new servers.
"There are several items in the bond," Ewing Lt. John Stemler, the municipality's provisional chief, said during a presentation to the town council recorded by NJ.com. "The most critical is that we have to replace the servers for the cameras."
In all, the bond issue would provide approximately $320,000 for technological improvements, allowing all officers to be outfitted with new in-car computers and cameras, as well as body cameras. The cost of the servers is also covered by the bond's value. The biggest immediate operational benefit would be improving the quality of the dash camera footage. Currently, the cameras can't record high-definition footage and are more limited in scope than current law enforcement camera systems on the market. The existing computers used in cruisers would also be improved, as current systems are no longer supported in many respects. The upgrades would be instituted in the first half of 2015, starting with a new order of patrol vehicles that will arrive around the same time.
Building a technological base
The Ewing Police Department has long placed a focus on using technology in its crime control and community protection efforts. The department's website features the various systems its officers use in law enforcement efforts, including a computer-aided dispatching system and a real-time patrol car location map.
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