Grant Supplies 14 Patrol Units with Laptops at Sheriff’s Office
Brown County Sheriff’s Office recently received 14 in-car mobile data terminals (MDTs) thanks to a grant through Tarleton State University which is designed to help rural law enforcement with equipment needs and creates sharing of information of criminal activities across the region.
150 agencies are participating in the program and several received funding including Brown County Sheriff’s Office, which Captain Tony Aaron stated has been the only law enforcement agency in the county that previously did not have in car-computers or MDTs.
“Installation will begin December 19th at TSU and all units should be up and running by the first of the year,” said Aaron. “Our officers are really excited about this tool.”
“These MDTs will be installed in marked and CID units,” said officials. “This grant is approximately $50,000; however if we bought these units on our own, we would have spent $70,000-100,000.”
Officials explained that over the years BCSO has been looking into MDTs; however their slim budget made it cost prohibitive. The TSU grant bought the MDTs in a bulk purchase and not only got a better deal, but also did so with absolutely no cost to Brown County tax payers. BCSO officials described the units as Panasonic “ruggedized” laptops with protected ports and drives. These MDTs also come with LEAPS software which allows sharing of data between agencies participating in the grant program. With the help of this software, officers will be able to run drivers license and license plate checks, learn what crimes a person has been involved with in other areas, what vehicles they have driven in past criminal activity, who they are associated with, next of kin information and more, according to officials.
Officers now will be able to work more efficiently out in the field with less driving back and forth to the office to complete their reports, according to Aaron.
“It’s another small way to make us more efficient at what we do,” Aaron said.
Sheriff Grubbs commended both Captain Aaron and Chief Deputy Bobby Duvall for finding and applying for the grant.
“We’ve made some great strides in equipping our officers in the past several years,” Grubbs said. “When we came here, these guys didn’t have much, but with grants we have been awarded over the years, it’s really helped.”
Some of the equipment purchased with grant money previously has been shotguns, rifles, computers for in-office use, a security system for the jail, ballistic vests; however, officials agreed that this was a most important upgrade in equipment for the agency.
“This is one of the best things that will help in how we serve the public,” said Sheriff’s Office officials. “Our response time will be quicker, deputies will be more efficient and it will be cost cutting as related to drive times and coordination of calls.”
“We’ve done well with supplementing our budget with state and federal grants over the past six years,” agreed Aaron.
Pictured left to right, Ross Harris, Tarleton State Rural Law Enforcement IT Specialist; CID Investigator James Stroope; Patrol Sergeant John Fincher; Sheriff Bobby Grubbs; Patrol Deputy Byron Langley; Warrant and Transports Officer Billy Arp; and Jim Cooley, Sr. Rural Law Enforcement IT Specialist, Tarleton State University. Photo contributed.