The Porterdale Police Department this month was awarded a $10,000 technology grant, money police officials said would be used to replace old computers and servers.
Police Investigator Doug Clifton, who also serves as grant writer for the department, said the grant, which requires a 10-percent local match, will replace a server that crashed last week, update decade-old computers and install a new bar code system for the department's evidence locker.
"The computer drives everything we do now," Clifton said. "Having an old antiquated system inhibits us from being effective."
The grant, which can only be spent on technology upgrades, was awarded on Dec. 13 by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a state body under the governor created in 1981 to coordinate among the state's diverse range of criminal justice system agencies.
This funding comes from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which is a federal grant from the Department of Justice that covers the costs of certain law enforcement and crime prevention activities for state and local governments.
Clifton said they have already shopped around for computers and servers, and will get the official bids together so they are ready when the grant money is available Jan. 17. The city will purchase the equipment and receive a reimbursement from the state.
Upgrading the computers, two of which were purchased by Clifton and Sgt. Jason Cripps with their own money, and creating the bar coding system for evidence is a step toward earning state accreditation for the department, Clifton said.
Police Chief Geoff Jacobs said that the department’s server crashed last week and has slowed down the ability of the department to process reports, which are written and stored online.
Additionally, the department started a bicycle registry, which is primarily a digital database of the serial numbers and descriptions of every bicycle in the city. Residents who choose to participate can bring the bike to the department and fill out a paper registration form or can fill out a digital a form on the city’s webpage at www.cityofporterdale.com.
A number of bikes have been reported stolen over the last year, and the police can have difficulty tracking them if the serial numbers are not written down. Jacobs said Cripps and Officer Brian Hornbuckle found three young people near the intersection of Highway 81 and Crowell Road riding bicycles that likely were stolen. Police confiscated those bikes.