Grant will outfit cars with new computers

Published 9:41 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A $255,000 federal grant will help put computers in Clanton’s police cars.

The city was facing a beginning of the year deadline to submit all tickets to Montgomery electronically, rather than on paper.

The grant will help put mobile data computers in 25 cars, allowing officers to file tickets or file incident and arrests reports from the field. That information will go straight to state databases … completely paperless.

“This grant will allow us to move into an electronic environment, make us more efficient and let us spend more time on the streets patrolling,” said Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell said.

The money will also be used to upgrade computer software, install a data sharing system in all police cars, hire an information and technology officer and meet state reporting requirements, Stilwell.

Currently, clerks enter all data from police officers and mail any needed information to Montgomery.

Without the grant, the department would have had to rotate computers from patrol car to patrol car every day.

The city would have likely been required to pay for the computers if the grant hadn’t come through.

“This money was really needed by the police department to meet new reporting mandates,” said Mayor Billy Joe Driver. “Without this funding, Clanton would have faced a financial burden.”

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus announced the grant, which will be overseen by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, on Monday. Bachus’ district includes Chilton County

Earlier this year, department received $35,000 from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant Program to outfit five patrol cars.