The agency was awarded $12,500 from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to purchase car-mounted technology, which will facilitate electronic crash reporting, citations and other record-keeping.
"I'm very pleased to announce ... that the Emerson Police Department is one of the first recipients of our technology grants we have made available to smaller agencies in Georgia," said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. "Of course, this police department serves this part of Bartow County, and I know that area includes some of I-75, it includes some of U.S. 41. And, of course with the growth they are expecting due to the recent announcements, we know that this is going to be a growing department with demands on its services."
The grant will expand the department's ability to generate and transmit crash reports electronically through in-car computers and printers. The result will increase efficiency, Blackwood said, adding that the city will continue to see a revenue stream from reports while prices will not change.
"We are extremely grateful to the Governor's Office and the governor himself for making this grant available to these smaller departments," said Emerson Police Chief Stan Bradley. "As you know, in these economic times it's a lot harder for us smaller departments than some of the larger ones to come up with the funds, especially for the technology, when we're scrapping trying to get enough officers on the road."
Blackwood said his department's goal is to have at least half of state agencies using a similar system in the coming months.
"We are at the point with both large and small police agencies ... we are getting very, very close, and we hope by the end of September, early October we will be at about 50 percent of the police agencies doing electronic reporting," he said.
Bradley said EPD's officers began using the system Tuesday.
"We've already got the computers and the technology in the cars, and the officers are out there on the streets using them," he said. "We've just gotten connected [Tuesday] with our [Georgia Crime Information Center] portal. We are able to run tags and personal licenses information so we don't have to go through 911 and clog up 911 for that."
The grant funds come from the federal level and are administered through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.