Norwalk hopes to improve Sheriff's technology

NORWALK - Norwalk officials plan to use a federal justice department grant to beef up the Sheriff's Department's with new technology.Norwalk applied for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and hopes to receive an allocation of $36,435. The bulk of the grant - $25,000 - would be used to purchase a license plate recognition patrol vehicle, which uses specialized cameras capable of "reading" license plates. The system alerts deputies when the license plate of a stolen or wanted vehicle is scanned. Scanned license plates are stored in catalogs to be used as a "criminal investigation tool," city officials wrote in a staff report. The vehicle could only be used in Norwalk and the Sheriff's Department would be responsible for the vehicle's maintenance. The remainder of the grant would be used to purchase handheld digital radios and citation devices. The citation devices would be used by public safety staff to issue parking citations. Norwalk purchased 10 of the devices in 2009 and noted "an improvement in officers' efficiency and effectiveness issuing citations with fewer errors." The devices also allow staff to take a digital photograph of the alleged infraction, which is uploaded to the processing agency. The city hopes to purchase two additional citation devices at a total cost of $8,090. The new handheld digital radios carry a price tag of $3,350 and would replace 10-year-old equipment that "was in need of constant repair and becoming unreliable," officials said. Norwalk expects to hear in August whether or not they will receive the grant but public safety director Carlos Ramos told council members Tuesday he was "very confident we'll get the money."

********** Published: April 19, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 01