$50K grant used to buy laptops
by Jennifer Cohron
Jun 08, 2014 | 2665 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Sheriff’s Office recently acquired laptops for every patrolman and investigator through a $50,000 Homeland Security grant.

The funds were also used to buy car chargers for the computers and ballistic helmets for the Special Response Team.

Laptops have been a need within the department for two years, according to Investigator Chuck Tidwell.

“The grants that were approved were small grant monies that covered high priority needs,” said Walker County Emergency Management Agency coordinator Regina Myers, who helped the agency apply for the funds.

Without the laptops, officers have been handicapped in the recent push for law enforcement agencies to go paperless.

The local sheriff’s department is part of a pilot program for an electronic warrant system.

The department has also implemented the Mobile Officer Virtual Environment, a software framework developed at the University of Alabama that puts electronic citation forms and a variety of tools at the officer’s fingertips.

Reports are now submitted to the Alabama Department of Public Safety electronically.

Officers will be using the computers to compile and send those reports in the field rather than driving back to their office computers.

Sgt. Tim Thomas said officers will soon have quick access to the National Crime Information Center themselves rather than relying on dispatchers.

“We are going to move toward mobile NCIC so the officer will have it in the car. They can swipe the subject’s drivers license and automatically have all of their information,” Thomas said.

The funds for the new equipment were provided at no cost to the county.

The Walker County Commission recently voted to purchase 10 air cards that will provide deputies with remote Internet access.

Sheriff John Mark Tirey also bought the software and car stands for the computers.