City, grant to fund new computers, cameras in police cars

Published 6:20 am Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thanks to a recent budget reshuffling and a $95,000 grant from the state, the Austin Police Department will be able to buy more equipment for its squad cars.

Police recently petitioned the Austin City Council to switch $21,000 set aside for police cameras to buy four new computers for squad cars this year and two computers in subsequent years, on a 10-computer rotation.

Krueger said police use those computers in a variety of situations, which include setting up perimeters around areas and communicating with other officers and dispatch on sensitive calls, or for things they don’t want on police scanners.

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The city council voted last week to set aside $21,000 in contingency funds to allow Police Chief Brian Krueger to buy eight in-car cameras over the next two years. According to Krueger, Austin squad cars haven’t had cameras for the past several years due to budget concerns, and the measure is a safety and liability issue. The new digital cameras should be able to run at all necessary times and will be easier to use in court cases.

Mower County also received $95,000 from state and federal sources to buy new radio equipment for an upcoming 800 Megahertz emergency radio system upgrade across the county, which Krueger said will also allow Austin Police to update squad car radios.

“A good portion of that money will go toward Austin police,” Krueger said.