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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)

By Jacqueline Koch
Staff Writer
When responding to calls, patrol officers with the Chattanooga Police Department soon will be able to see where they're headed on their in-car computers.
New wireless equipment and hardware purchased through a federal grant will help the department upgrade its laptops.
The Chattanooga City Council voted Tuesday night to authorize the chief of police to apply for and accept the Community Oriented Policing Services FY 2008 Technology Program Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The no-match grant will award the department an amount not to exceed $631,328 for a three-year period.
The funds will be used to purchase more than 360 wireless cards and licenses used in laptop computers to communicate field reports, transfer data and access video from the city's wireless camera system and traffic information from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Deputy Chief Mark Rawlston said.
"Our in-car laptops operate off our 800 megahertz system, and that makes for some fairly slow transmission times," he said. "This will increase the speed of data transfer from cars."
Chief Rawlston was unsure when implementation of the equipment would occur.
The department applied for the equipment under a different grant last year and was denied but officials were told to apply under this grant.
The equipment will allow officers to see video of Coolidge Park, for example, before arriving there to help them assess any situation, he said.
City Councilman Manny Rico said the council approves grants such as this one because they do not require a match and because they improve public safety.
"Anything that we can do to help the communications with the police amongst themselves" the council approves, he said. "The faster you communicate with each other, the better. Officers will be able to better respond to different things."

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