Archived Story

Commissioners approve $261K for law enforcement computers, software

Published 11:09am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Area law enforcement is one step closer to getting what Sheriff Terese Amazi described as a “much-needed upgrade.”

The county board voted 4-0 — with Tim Gabrielson absent — Tuesday to pay $261,878 to replace outdated computers and software in dispatch, records management and the Mower County Jail. Amazi and Dispatch Supervisor Marty Higgs updated the board, telling them current software only works on Windows XP. Since XP no longer comes on new computers, Amazi said law enforcement officials have had IT retool old computers when one crashes.

“Our system keeps crashing, and we have no ability to update it,” she said.

The city and county will split the total $467,000 cost of the upgrade over the next two years.

The City Council still needs to approve its portion of the funds, which would be about $205,456.90. The county is paying half, plus an additional $56,421.20 to update the jail’s software.

Last year, the county board set aside $250,000 in assigned reserves to fund its portion. The remaining $11,878 will come out of the general budget.

After two years, the city and continue will continue to split $44,434 in annual maintenance and about $1,250 each year for air cards, which communicate with computers in squad cars. Higgs told the board the county currently pays annual maintenance, but at a lower cost since updates are limited to the outdated equipment.

The new equipment and software will allow squad cars to access maps and records in squad cars without the roughly five minute lags they face now, according to Amazi.

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