Jul 28, 2010 6:31 PM by Carolyn Cerda
This year, Abbeville has gotten a new building for their police department and a new chief too. Now, more changes may be on the way. Chief Tony Hardy says he's received complaints about some of his officers either speeding or not working while on duty. Now, he wants to "patrol" his patrol officers, buy installing Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, in police units.
"It's like another set of eyes out there telling me everything that's going on," said Hardy.
Hardy says with GPS, he'll be able to monitor any officer at any time, so that when a complaint comes in, he can check and see if the accusations are true. It's something that's proven to be successful throughout Acadiana, like in Lafayette.
For the past decade, Lafayette Parish has been using GPS in their emergency service and law enforcement vehicles. Officials say, not only has it helped with monitoring those individuals, but it has lowered their response time.
"It's really made it more efficient to get our units to the worst incidents quicker," said Cpl. Paul Mouton, with Lafayette Police.
Mouton says before GPS, dispatchers had to call officers according to a list, even if the next person on the list wasn't the closest to a scene. Now, he says dispatchers have the ability to see which unit is closest to a scene, and therefore can respond quicker.
However, Mouton admits, when the system was first installed officers weren't too happy knowing their every move was monitored... like "big brother" was watching. That's something Chief Hardy says he's hearing from some of his officers now.
"My reply to that, if you're doing what you're suppose to be doing... don't even worry about that. If you're not doing what you should be, then you should worry about what's in your car," said Hardy.
Both Hardy and Mouton say only good things can come from knowing where your officers are at all times.
"It's a win, win situation... not only for our agency but for the community. We need to take advantage of the new technology," said Mouton.
"It's gonna save the citizens time, it's gonna save the city money and it's gonna make for a better police department, " said Hardy.
Hardy has received several quotes for the GPS. He says the average is about $20/month per unit. With about 35 units, that's nearly $10,000 a year. Hardy hopes to install the GPS as soon as possible.
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