Published Wednesday, March 13, 2013
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
Grantville Police will soon have a radio for each officer and every car.
City council members voted to utilize Grantville’s technology fund for four portable and four in-car radios, which means that all the town’s eight officers and five cruisers will be equipped with communications devices at all times.
Chief Doug Jordan cited safety in making the equipment request at Monday’s Grantville Council meeting, saying spotty reception in parts of the city and handing off of often-uncharged radios at shift changes leave his officers unnecessarily vulnerable.
Total cost for the eight units will be $27,818.
Council also agreed to accept bids for a tag reader, which scans license plate information to alert police of everything from uninsured drivers and suspended licenses to Amber Alert vehicles. According to Shawn Witmer of Synergistic Software, the scanner can read more than 5,000 tags per hour.
“We installed 3,500 systems last year,” Witmer said, adding that many small police departments were among purchasers. He said data sharing has been particularly useful for Coweta County Sheriff’s Department, which has 13 of the units.
“Coweta County is solving burglaries at an ungodly rate because of it,” Witmer said. “It’s not just for speeding. It’s a way to give due diligence to the people in your community. You would have the ability to share data with agencies not just here in Georgia but throughout the country.”
“It will really bring the city of Grantville into the 21st century to have this kind of technology,” Jordan said.
Council member Rochelle Jabaley voiced her support for the purchase, praising Grantville’s 2009 adoption of a technology assessment – an additional $20 fine levied against citizens convicted of criminal or traffic offenses or who violate city ordinances – which helped the city accumulate necessary funds for the requested equipment.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our police department, and we have money to purchase it,” she said.
Cost of the proposed scanner system and data sharing software is $25,310. However, because more than one company sells the tag reader, the system component will be put out for bid. The software is from a sole source, so its purchase was approved outright along with an annual software subscription and maintenance fee of $2,500.
“It’s a great thing for the city of Grantville to have funding for this type of equipment,” Jordan said. “A lot of small towns don’t have that. Thank y’all very much.”
In other business, council:
Agreed to spend $21,647 for construction of an 84x28 storage building with enclosed gables to house city equipment.
Denny Robertson Construction LLC will build the structure.
“It’s badly needed,” said Code Enforcement Officer Tim Dean. “We’ve got a lot of equipment sitting out there in the rain.”
Approved the city’s on-premise – liquor by-the-drink – license ordinance with fees to be set later.
Held a first reading on a proposed change to the city’s sign ordinance.
Council will hold a public hearing on the change – which would allow the youth baseball league to post revenue-generating advertising on its outfield fences – prior to its March 25 meeting.