Mayor, council updated on police tech

Published 8:23 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell updated Mayor Billy Joe Driver and city council members about the department’s newest technology.

A grant has made it possible to install computers into patrol cars and hire an information technology officer.

Stilwell said the department is about 60 to 70 percent finished with all it hopes to accomplish through the grant and has met all state requirements to file accident and other reports electronically.

The computer takes tasks that used to require hours to finish, like coding paper reports to send to Montgomery, and reduces that time to seconds, Stilwell said.

“All this double, triple and quadruple data entry that has been going on has been eliminated, Stilwell said. “It closes a lot of loopholes and things that can fall through the cracks.”

Officers can now file accident, incident and arrests reports in the field and have access to every document they need on their computers.

Transporting a suspect to the Chilton County Jail, a process that used to require officers to file paperwork, has gone from 90 minutes to about 10, which keeps officers on the streets, Stilwell said.

“They can be back and out doing what we pay them to do, which is patrol our streets, rather than spending time (doing paperwork),” he said.

Data is stored securely off site and backed up daily.

While demonstrating how the software works, Stilwell told the mayor and council that the changes will pay for themselves in time.

“If we can reduce cost in some area, that’s a resource we can use elsewhere,” Stilwell said. “This was worthwhile doing. It’s going to be a big advantage for us.”

Future work to be done includes installing GPS software that can track where all the patrols cars.

The department is also working toward installing video cameras in every patrol car.