Valdosta Police Department seeing success with GPS technology

Posted on Jun 18, 2014

The Valdosta Police Department in Valdosta, Georgia, added a new police technology system at the beginning of the year that locates the nearest patrolling officer and alerts them about the crime in progress, FOX affiliate WFXL reported.

The new crime control device was issued to the department to help cut down 911 response times, which the officers believe has worked as a life-saving system. In the past, police officers were simply assigned to a call by their zone or the beat they were covering.

However, now officers are able to be dispatched that are closest to "high priority calls" such as burglaries in progress, armed robberies and other Part 1 crimes, ABC affiliate WTXL reported.

"The cards update every three seconds," Chief Brian Childress, said, according to WTXL reported, "Every three seconds the server is getting a ping from the individual cars saying hey I'm here this is where I'm at."

The police department believes it has made them a smarter and more technologically-advanced group that is making the area safer. According to the source, the system not only calls a primary officer to go to the scene of the crime, but it also contracts a secondary officer for back up.

"It becomes a force multiplier," said Larry Hanson, the city manager for Valdosta, the source reported. "These are difficult economic times we're living in and we can't always add more people but we can find new ways to use technology to work smarter."

System working well for the department

The Valdosta Police Department told WFXL the system is paying for itself since it's helping officers reach crime scenes at a much faster rate. The system works out of the Lowndes County E911 center, helping officers cut their response times in half.

"Just last night, [Police Chief Childress] was talking about a robbery, which we had a one minute response time," said Lieutenant Aaron Kirk, with the Valdosta Police Department, according to WFXL. "Typically, in the past, we've had two to three minute response times."

The system is connected to 62 different police cruisers throughout the city and every officer, no matter their ranking, is able to be called on at any time while patrolling, the Valdosta Daily Times reported. The police technology cost the department around $700,000 and was funded through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

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