Council approves funding computers for Gaffney police cars, 1st of 3 phase project

GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Gaffney Police Department is looking to improve efficiency and public safety with a 3 phase project.

Phase one is getting new computers inside the city’s patrol cars.

Monday, city council approved funding the equipment at a cost of $112,463. That will cover 20 computers and 31 mounting stations, along with internet access and installation.

Starting January 2017, South Carolina will mandate citations are sent to the state electronically within three days of being issued. Officials say right now, it’s simply inefficient to manually enter that information.

“Our officer — if he pulls someone over for a traffic violation, it’s going to save time because he’s not going to have to sit there and hand write everything,” said Fire Chief James Caggiano, Jr.  “So, that’s going to allow him to finish with that traffic stop and get back out to where he can answer another call.”

Officials hope to get the devices ordered and installed within two months.

Phase 2 includes making information – like warrants – immediately accessible by different agencies in Cherokee County.

“Phase two will allow us to interact and merge all of our data with the county, with Blacksburg,” said Caggiano. “Everybody in Cherokee County will be looking at the same database when they look for warrant, when they look for wanted individuals, when they look for history on people they stop.”

Phase three involves getting information from dispatchers to officers electronically, instead of solely through radio communication.

“If an officer gets sent to a breaking and entering, they can send descriptions, they can send updates, house descriptions, suspect descriptions. They can give information that’s not transmitted over the radio. That officer sees it immediately when that dispatcher sees it. As soon as its typed into the system, that automatically sends it to the car,” said Caggiano. “It allows an officer to be more efficient to where he doesn’t have to call back and say – what’s that house number – was it 405 or was it 504. He can look at it straight on his screen.”

Caggiano said they will look at funding for phases two and three when the city plans its 2017-2018 budget next Spring.

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