Sheriff’s Office seeks GPS upgrade for patrol cars

Published 12:42 pm Thursday, March 11, 2010

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

Recent reports from Lowndes County residents have suggested that some officers may speed through town without activating emergency lights or sirens.

On Monday night the Lowndes County Commission, in cooperation with Sheriff Chip Williams, took the step to help monitor those complaints.

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Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to allow global positioning systems to be installed in the Lowndes County Sheriff’s law enforcement vehicles.

Sheriff Williams presented the plan before the commission to ensure additional safety for concerned citizens.

“This will provide a way for me to keep track of my deputies if I can’t reach them on their radios,” said Williams.
Williams said Alabama state law required law enforcement and emergency vehicles that exceed the speed limit to make use of lights and sirens to avoid potential disasters.

“Such disasters would come at a great cost to the county,” said Williams.

“This will be a good measure to substantiate any claims received from within the community about the Sheriff or his deputies speeding illegally,” said Commissioner Chairman Charlie King.

“I wouldn’t want deputies driving faster than 70 to 75 miles per hour on these back roads with hazards such as deer,” Williams added.

The GPS system would be installed underneath the cruiser’s dashboards to avoid any potential tampering with the devices.

Williams wants the GPSs installed within 18 police cruisers in order to keep track of the vehicles’ speeds and locations.

Each unit would come at a cost of $289 per unit plus $100 for installation and an additional $27.95 per month for service.

This will come at no cost to the county whereas funds from drug and drug-money seizures would contribute to the extension of the Sheriff’s office.

“This is a win-win situation,” said chairman W. Dickson Farrior. “The system will give a better sense of where officers are and offer better control over the Sheriff’s deputies.”