Commission votes to equip deputies with air cards
by Jennifer Cohron
May 20, 2014 | 1711 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Commission voted Monday to purchase 10 air cards that will provide Walker County Sheriff’s deputies with remote Internet access.

The sheriff’s department was recently awarded a $50,000 Homeland Security grant that was used to purchase laptops for patrol cars.

“These deputies need wireless Internet cards that plug into the laptops so they can access the records they need in the field rather than trying to locate a Wi-Fi spot or go back to the office after hours, which would add to overtime,” Commissioner Keith Davis said.

Sheriff John Mark Tirey said laptops with Internet access are crucial to members of law enforcement, especially those who work in rural counties where Wi-Fi access is limited.

“All of Montgomery through the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center is paperless. You don’t send them anything on paper anymore,” Tirey said.

Deputy Chuck Tidwell said the air cards will not only eliminate delays in sending electronic reports to Montgomery but will also provide deputies with important background information during traffic stops.

“We can automatically pull up their information, and it will tell us if they have been a suspect in a homicide or robbery. That helps us better engage the person that we’re in contact with,” Tidwell said.

Davis made the motion for a $2,000 budget amendment to purchase 10 air cards through Verizon. The monthly cost per card is $39.99 for unlimited data.

In other action, the commission

•voted to change the Monday, June 2 meeting to Wednesday, June 4 because of a state holiday for the birthday of Jefferson Davis.

•accepted a list from the Revenue Commission of insolvents, errors and taxes in litigation for tax year 2013 as well as uncollected insolvents and taxes in litigation for previous years.

Revenue Commissioner Jerry Guthrie also asked commissioners to consider moving the county’s annual auction of delinquent properties to a larger venue.

•presented a framed resolution to Rep. Bill Roberts on behalf of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. The resolution thanks Roberts for his work on legislation intended to streamline a routine procedural step in the property tax process.

The new law, which was passed on the last day of the session, establishes that the property tax levy set by each county commission in February 2015 will remain in place until the rate changes. Under an old provision in state law, county commissions were required to set the tax levy annually.

Roberts said he was honored by the recognition because he and representatives of the ACCA had to work through some disagreements in order to finalize the legislation.

“If we had not passed the bill, we could have potentially lost about $7 million in revenue for Walker County. A number of lawyers had filed suit because of a glitch in the law that we had to correct,” Roberts said.

•agreed to hold a work session at the request of Tirey to discuss the sheriff’s department budget.

•announced that monthly tests of the county’s severe weather sirens will soon get back on schedule.

The sirens will be tested the first Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m., weather permitting.