The Chester Police Department has announced that they have received clearance to begin purchases for the Law Enforcement Technology Program grant. Last year, Chief Coffey was informed that the Chester Police Department was chosen to receive $100,000.00 in federal funding for law enforcement technology equipment. The Chester Police Department has received authorization to begin purchasing pre-approved technology equipment. The items that have been approved include the replacement of all office computers and software. “We feel that this purchase alone could significantly impact our staff’s efficiency”.
Some of the others items include several narrow-band compliant police car radios. “Due to the impending narrow-banding of radio frequencies, we felt that the City of Chester would benefit from assigning grant funding to this impending change and impending expense. The Police Department had also received authorization to purchase in-car Video Recording Devices for the entire police fleet. “The idea here is we not only significantly increase officer safety, but we provide another tool for our officers and our local prosecutors to utilize as evidence in criminal cases”. The Police Department will also be adding Mobile Data Computers. “This item is also a very expensive piece of police equipment and has become almost standard in law enforcement. Mobile Data Computers are a program we’ve wanted to shore up for several years now. By increasing the number of Mobile Data Computers, we establish a standard that will now be universal throughout our staff. We have really tried to work towards equipping all of our officers evenly. Sometimes the expense of the equipment delays these goals”.
Chief Coffey said the funding puts the Department well ahead of the game as it relates to their priority planning. “Unfortunately, it propelled us passed some needs that we’ve considered more immediate, but those items were not authorized under this grant. Some of these items we received funding for were not intended to be tackled for a few more years. The important thing to remember is these items contribute to being a better police department as it relates to efficiency. And thanks to this grant funding the Department and the citizens get to benefit from this technology now, rather than years from now”. Chief Coffey acknowledged that the grant does not address all of our immediate needs, but it certainly gets a great deal of those needs out of our way. Now our staff can focus on the remaining equipment goals”.
Chief Coffey indicated that he recognizes that now that the police department has elevated the standards, with regard to equipment and technology made available to his staff, a new challenge will eventually emerge. This new challenge will be retention or maintaining this standard. “Not only have we considered the implementation of this new equipment, but we have also had to think long and hard about how we plan to maintain this new standard. When you purchase police equipment, particularly technological equipment, you have purchased a perishable item. These items have a shelf life and replacement of these items is something that must be planned well in advance. As important as it is to implement this technology, it is just as important to have a plan to maintain or to even improve upon what you have established as the Department moves forward.”
Page 2 of 2 - Chief Coffey said that several people helped out with this grant. In particular, Chester Police Deputy Chief Bobby Helmers, Deputy Chief Helmers took the lead on this project, doing a great deal of the research and application preparation. Chief Coffey also wanted to thank Alderman Carolyn Schwent for getting the ball rolling on this grant almost two years ago. Chief Coffey also wished to thank several of his staff members for their input and doing some of the legwork throughout the application process.