On the beat &on line
HPD technology grant will pay for in-car computers
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
The Hartselle Police Department recently received a grant the will help keep on-duty officers on street patrol and off desk duty.
The U.S. Department of Justice awarded HPD a technology grant in February for $69,545 that will be used to purchase computer software and radio upgrades and five laptop computers.
Chief Ron Merkh said the grant will equip one shift of patrol cars with laptop computers.
The grant money would also pay for docking hardware for the department's entire fleet of patrol cars.
"On-duty officers will have complete access to records management and NCIC (National Crime Information Center) from their cars without going through dispatch," Merkh said.
"The laptops will also be a great management tool because officers won't have to come back to the office to file reports. Officers will also save time by only filling out one report instead of two."
Merkh said U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Alabama, and staff played a vital role in the department receiving the grant.
"I spoke with Congressman Cramer and his staff last year during a presentation of a sewer grant to Hartselle Utilities," Merkh said.
"I expressed our technology needs and he listened. Congressman Cramer and Congressman (Robert) Aderholt helped not only the city of Hartselle and Morgan County law enforcement in receiving technology funds, but also surrounding counties, like Lawrence."
Merkh said technology purchases for HPD will be made through grant funds and implemented as soon as existing technological issues in the department are resolved.
"This grant will allow the department to get a jumpstart into the future of law enforcement," Merkh said.