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PC patrol cars receiving upgrades

PHIL CAMPBELL- The Phil Campbell Police Department has received a $25,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs that will allow them to add new equipment to their patrol units.

Video capabilities, new laptops loaded with an advanced E-cite software and digital cameras will be purchased with the grant to help “catch up with everyone else.”

Phil Campbell Police Chief Merrell Potter said the equipment has been needed for quite some time.

“We desperately needed some updated tools for operation,” he said. “We are really thankful to have gotten this grant for new equipment. We had a lot of people to help us in the application process and it was just a combination of several people working together to get the grant. It really pays off when you work together.”

Potter said the E-cite program should help officers be more efficient during traffic stops.

“Now, our officers will be able to print out a ticket by just swiping a person’s license,” he said.

Potter said digital cameras in the car should help tremendously when an incident happens nearby.

“Every patrol unit will now have their own digital camera,” Potter said. “Now we will have the ability to take pictures of a scene right when we get there, instead of having to go back to the station, grab the one camera we do have and then take pictures.”

Potter said the equipment currently inside the patrol units run off VHS and has become a long and drawn out process when writing out citations.

“All three of our patrol cars should have the pieces installed within the next 60 days hopefully,” he said. “This is the largest grant we have ever received. We have gotten a communication grant in the past to update radio systems and one other grant, but this brings us into the modern age with everyone else.”

Potter said he appreciates everyone that played a role in helping get the grant.

The patrol units will be sent to Florence for instillation of the video cameras. Officers will then have to travel to Tuscaloosa to receive equipment installation and training for the E-cite program.