Fremont Ohio Police Installs New Technology in Cruisers from Universal Com Link
Fremont -- Every Fremont Police officer will soon have access to digital traffic and criminal databases in their cruisers and can automatically record digital video. The department has agreed to purchase 17 computer and video systems, which means all cruisers will soon be equipped with the technology. The price to purchase the equipment was covered by a combination of forfeiture funds, mandatory court fines and charitable gaming proceeds from organizations like the Moose and Eagles.
"None of this came from our police budget," Chief Tim Wiersma said. "This is not taxpayer money."
Wiersma said "They did give us a good price."
Capt. James White said the tiny cameras mounted on the dash of each cruiser provide much higher-quality video and allow more advanced viewing after video is recorded than the older VHS-based equipment previously used in their cars. "We are really trying to modernize the police department equipment-wise," White said.
People have always over-estimated police technology after watching television shows that tout the latest-greatest law enforcement gadgets that most small departments like Fremont cannot afford, White said. For instance, a driver will often expect that an officer can show them video of their vehicle swerving after pulling them over for reckless driving, he said.
Previously, the department had seven VHS recording systems in its cruisers, two older digital systems and four portable laptops to scan criminal databases. With the new system, each marked cruiser will be able to access the databases and record video anytime they are near the car.
"I think this is a great thing for the police department," he said. "We need to have this stuff in our cruisers for our officers' safety as well as our citizens' safety."
The system will also include software for writing traffic tickets and a card-swipe for officers to pull up a driver's pertinent information simply by sliding their license through the reader.
John Lucas, a representative from Universal Com Link, said in the future the department could add other features to the system, like a wireless network that would allow data to be automatically downloaded to a central server while cruisers are parked at the police station.
Universal Com Link opened its doors about a year ago and employees said they were happy to provide the police department with the equipment, hoping to show them off to other agencies as an example of what they can provide. Though this is the company's first contract with a police department, he said, the owner has worked in the industry for 25 years and equipped large agencies including the Birmingham Police Department in Alabama.
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