Upgrades coming for police

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dowagiac law enforcement officers will soon receive a digitally powered update to the way they protect and serve the public.

The Dowagiac City Council approved the purchase of new in-car computers for the Dowagiac Police Department during its meeting Monday evening, agreeing to purchase $28,916 worth of equipment for five of the department’s vehicles. The equipment will be purchased through Benton Harbor-based vendor Tele-Rad, which will also handle installation of the machines.

The purchase will allow the local police department to catch up with the technology used by other agencies in and around Cass County, according to report by Director of Public Safety Steve Grinnewald. The on-board computers will make the generation of police reports quicker, as well as give officers easy access to law enforcement databases and dispatch systems.

“It will be a nice addition for our reporting,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson. “It will allow officers to complete reports in their vehicles, while on the street.”

The city has considered purchasing these computers for the last several years, receiving grant money from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development for the equipment in 2013. However, officials have held off on the purchase of the machines themselves in order to assure they would be compatible with new records management software implemented in recent years by most Cass County law enforcement agencies, Anderson said.

“During that period of time, our department has been working with other police agencies to purchase one computer operating system for reporting, so that there’s consistent kinds of reporting throughout the county and consistent access to data,” he said. “That is
now complete.”

Tele-Rad was the lowest of the companies bidding for the project when the costs of the equipment and installation was taken into consideration, according to Grinnewald’s report. While a proposal from Precision Data Products priced the cost of equipment lower, at $27,316, their installation fees ran higher than the winning bidder.

Around $20,000 of the purchase costs will be covered through grant money, Anderson said.

“It’s a very good buy for only $8,000 out of our pockets,” said Mayor Pro Tem Leon Laylin.