Montebello police receive funding for computer system


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MONTEBELLO – Much-needed funding for communication and record systems upgrades arrived at the Montebello Police Department on Wednesday, thanks to Rep. Grace Napolitano. With its current Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management System scheduled to be discontinued Jan. 1, 2007, the department has been scrambling to find funding for the estimated $1.5 million cost of a new system. On Wednesday, Napolitano presented a $100,000 grant to the department, money that came from the congresswoman’s procurement of $11.5 million for local projects in her 38th Congressional District. The larger sum is part of Congress’ recently approved 2006 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations Bill. Combined with $250,000 the department received from the same bill last year, police Chief Garry Couso-Vasquez hopes the $100,000 will enable the department to secure a new system and a payment plan for remaining upgrades. “We’ve had our bell and coffee cup out for many years,” Couso-Vasquez said. “With some government help, hopefully, we can get the needed resources to go forward with this by the end of the year.” Steve Taratula, grants and projects administrator for the department, said that upgrading part of the system was not enough. “Our system is more than 20 years old,” Taratula said. “We had a software upgrade in the mid-’90s, but the stuff in the cars is text-based, which takes a lot of keystrokes. “The new system will allow the officers to use a touch screen with icons so they don’t have to pull over and type a whole sentence in. “Getting a whole new system will also increase the inter-operability with other agencies so we’ll be compatible with Homeland Security,” he added. Couso-Vasquez said Montebello is joining both the Whittier and Monterey Park police departments in choosing the same product in the hopes that the manufacturer will give a group rate. According to the department’s technology consultant, Bill Romesburg, the computerized dispatch and records systems allow faster police response times by increasing accuracy and enabling officers to see various aspects of a call. Officers would be able to make reports from the field on laptop computers, saving significant amounts of time. “When a 9-1-1 call comes in, the dispatcher can see where the call is coming from,” Romesburg said. “The new system validates the address now and can do an internal search to see how many times there have been calls made there. It can check on duplicate calls and see if there are any past hazards related to the address. It’s a huge benefit to the officers.” Napolitano said she depends on community leaders to inform her about areas in need of funding. “If people don’t communicate with me as to what they need to do the job better, I’ll never know,” Napolitano said. “I’m trying to sell the government on the idea that the more cities that have the same systems, the better able we are to get criminals going from city to city. That helps in Homeland Security issues.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029last_img

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