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City Board Considers New Police Technology

Better law enforcement communication equipment was a major topic at the regular monthly meeting of the New Albany Board of Aldermen on March 3rd.

Police Chief Chris Robertson asked the board to approve a $35,000 purchase of new computer and communications systems to be installed in New Albany police vehicles.

Chris Robertson said one of his main goals as chief is to have New Albany police officers spend more time on the streets and less time at desks.

Chris Robertson said one of his main goals as chief is to have New Albany police officers spend more time on the streets and less time at desks.

Robertson said the new systems would allow police officers to spend more time patrolling in police cruisers and less time doing paperwork at the police station. Presently police officers write paper tickets in the field and must then spend time at the police station completing additional paperwork information. They must then send their information to municipal court clerks and other officials for proper judicial and administrative follow up.

The chief recommended purchase of commuter terminals and communication modems that will allow police officers to communicate all information related to a traffic citation directly from their police cruisers.

The new system called “E-Citation” has been used by the Mississippi Highway Patrol for about two years. Software for the new system would be provided to the city at no charge by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Robertson said he believes New Albany would be the first municipality in the state to put the E-Citation system in place. He said the $35,000 would equip up to 85 percent of police vehicles with the E-Citation equipment and that the rest of the police fleet could be so equipped as needed.

E-Citation in New Albany will utilize fourth generation mobile telecommunications technology, usually called “4G,” and will include Global Positioning System (GPS) capability.

Robertson told nanewsweb.com that development of  in-car communications systems for New Albany policemen has been underway for several years. He said his predecessor, long-time Police Chief David Grisham, had started the work several years ago. The technology  has evolved as newer, better, and more affordable technology became available. Robertson said the work has been assisted over the years by Integrated Communications of Tupelo, and by Computing Technologies, a locally owned and operated New Albany firm that deals in hardware equipment, software and consulting for a variety of business, institutional and consumer clients in north Mississippi.

The aldermen approved going forward with putting E-Citation at work in New Albany. Being developed separately is a new Internet website for the City of New Albany that will, among many other features, allow motorists to pay traffic tickets online.

In other business Tuesday evening the board approved the emergency purchase of a new $148,000-bucket truck for the Lights, Gas, and Water Department. The vehicle will replace one recently destroyed by fire. Delivery of the new truck is expected in about nine months.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 17 attended the board meeting.

The city board also approved acceptance of a donation of land for more bicycling and pedestrian trails. Story elsewhere on nanewsweb.com

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