Columbus Earns $6.2 million Federal Grant to Purchase High-Tech Tools for Divisions of Police and Fire
(Columbus) Mayor Michael B. Coleman is forwarding legislation to accept a $6.2 million Federal grant to buy new high-tech tools to enhance communication between Columbus Police Officers, Firefighters, residents and neighboring law enforcement agencies. .
"From laptops to radios and a new digital mug shot database, these new hi-tech tools will help Columbus Police Officers in the field to share real-time crime data with our residents and strengthen our cooperation with regional law enforcement officials," said Mayor Coleman, "and fire fighters will have more detailed data before entering the scene of a fire or emergency to save lives."
Ordinance 1607-2007 was sent to Columbus City Council to accept the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS program. The ordinance will be heard at Council’s November 5, 2007 meeting.
"This grant will allow us to better support Columbus Police Officers, giving them additional tools to combat crime and helping the best police force in the county to be even more effective," said Councilmember Andrew J. Ginther, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. "This is a perfect example of how we can utilize the latest technology to help Police do their job, and keep our neighborhoods safe."
The grant will fund technological enhancements including:
*Mobil Data Computer Laptops with modems - $3.99 million
Equipping 587 laptop computers in police cruisers will make safety and crime data more accessible to the community, allowing police officers to share information at neighborhood meetings and calls for service.
Modem connections will also provide first-time high speed connections to fire apparatus. Fire fighters will have access to data including a scene’s floor plan, the location of utilities and any hazardous materials, and information regarding hazardous conditions.
*Marcs 800 MHz radios - $1.5 million
Columbus Police officers will get 300 new Marcs radios, allowing them to communicate directly with State of Ohio law enforcement officials, which is particularly important during a large-scale emergency or a homeland security incident.
*Mugshot Database - $265,000
A new, web-based system will allow law enforcement agencies in Ohio and around the United States to identify potential criminal suspects more quickly via the internet rather than traveling to Columbus for the information.
2007 COPS Project Director Lieutenant Ramona Patts states "The ability to share information throughout our Public Safety community in Central Ohio and the State of Ohio will be greatly enhanced by the addition of this hardware and software technology. The more information that is available to our Public Safety community, the safer our citizens will be."
The City’s comprehensive approach to neighborhood safety continues to focus on technology that helps police officers and fire fighters do their jobs more effectively. The City invested $2.6 million to purchase approximately 850 new "walkie" radios to equip every Columbus Patrol officer with this vital tool.
More than 100 police cruisers are equipped with cameras that provide incontrovertible evidence during a traffic stop, protecting citizens and police officers.
The City is also exploring the use of safety cameras in neighborhoods to prevent and address crime. In addition, the Safety Department is investing $161,500 for 38 new thermal imaging cameras that enable fire fighters to see through smoke to locate civilians, fellow fire fighters and locate the source of fire more quickly.