The Gretna Police Department has joined forces with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office to share information through the new Mobile Data Terminals recently installed in their vehicles.
The system links law enforcement officers on the road to their dispatch centers and police or sheriffs' departments. The system is tied to the Smart Cops system now operational at the sheriff’s department’s dispatch center.
According to GCSO Inv. Ulysses Jenkins, who is helping Gretna police install the new computers, the system allows officers to search state and local data bases for information rather that using the dispatchers for their searches.
“Officers can run the same inquiries while in their vehicles and not have to wait on a dispatcher to do it for them,” Jenkins said.
The new system allows for more flexibility, he added.
The purpose is to allow officers to run such things as tag numbers, names or driver’s licence numbers and get a quicker response.
Information regarding stolen vehicles, wanted persons, missing persons and other important information is available to patrol and detective units in a very short period of time.
An example of how the system works would be when an officer pulls over someone for a traffic violation the officer will be able to view all available records from several databases to find out if there are any warrants, previous arrests or stops and verify identification while sitting in his vehicle.
There are other advantages to the system, Jenkins explained. Now officers can do their daily reports while in their vehicles and transmit them immediately.
“Citations will go directly to the court system and through this system information gathered from arrests and other infractions can be transmitted and shared with other agencies,” he said.
This is the same system used by the Florida Highway Patrol.
The system also tracks the officers through its GPS program.
The MDT, according to Jenkins, uploads information each night into a national data base making the information available to other agencies.
Gretna Interim Police Chief Carlos De La Cruz said he was pleased with the new system and saw it as an asset for the department.
Gretna City Manager Antonio Jefferson said this was a good example of government to government cooperation that results in the savings for the taxpayer.
Gretna uses the GCSO for its dispatch.
“We go from two separate data systems to one data system which greatly improves our efficiency,” Jefferson stated.
Jefferson, who is an advocate for inter-governmental cooperation, said Gretna wanted to take leadership in this area and hoped other communities will come on board with this idea.
By being the first municipality to join with the GCSO’s MDT program, Jefferson said he hoped that other county municipalities will follow Gretna.
Jefferson said that he appreciated Sheriff Morris Young taking the leadership in this program and bringing the City of Gretna’s police department into the program.
In order to participate in the program, Gretna bought the software licensing required to operate the terminals through the sheriff’s department call center.
Currently GCSO, the Gadsden County Medical Service and Gretna are operating the MDT system.