MORGAN CITY — The purchase of a new computer operating system for the city’s police department was unanimously approved by the council during Tuesday’s monthly meeting.
The system, which is expected to cost $36,424, will be purchased from David Hartford of GDI Systems Inc. in Patterson. That price includes an annual general maintenance fee of $2,500 per year.
The price is much less, Police Chief Marc Folse said, than other systems he had looked at that approached nearly $200,000.
The new system is needed, Folse said, because the current one in place is limited.
Folse said it failed after he took over as police chief. While the department was able to restore the system on a single computer again, the chief said PTS Solutions in Harrisonburg wants to charge the city about $7,000 to upgrade the entire system, which he said they believe is the problem.
Folse said the department already pays an average of $3,800 per year in maintenance fees to PTS.
The new system, designed to fit a department’s individual needs, also is used by the Franklin and Berwick police departments, which both said worked well for them, while Patterson currently is looking at it.
The Baldwin Police Department also is using the system Morgan City currently has, and Folse said they are experiencing problems, too.
With the new system, the police department will be able to provide specific information, such as pinpointing traffic accidents and complaints — breaking them down to specific areas.
For the most part, this information has to be done by hand now.
It also keeps track of what officers give tickets and how many officers give them and, after inmates are incarcerated, their medical history, court appearances, etc.
Folse said the system jibes with the computer systems in officers’ cars, too.
Folse said it also will help the department keep track of sex offenders in the area, which he said they have no means of tracking other than the state system.
“That’s usually outdated,” Folse said. “It’s a month or two behind, and that’s certainly things that would enhance the public” awareness.
The system will be purchased using excess sales tax revenues from this fiscal year.
Folse also said that Hartford has agreed to show the city’s computer technician how the system operates so he can address any problems in-house.
In other news, Folse also said that extra police patrols will be made Monday, 6-8 p.m., during trick-or-treating hours on Halloween, as well as before and after these hours.