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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

KPD gets computer grant but nixed on body cameras

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Last March the Kennedale Police Department applied for two technology grants through the North Texas of Government. One was granted, the other denied, but the department is satisfied.
The grant that was approved will fund new computers for every vehicle in the police fleet, allowing for better communication between all police vehicles and the regional dispatch center in Mansfield.
Police Chief Tommy Williams said the approved grant ?was to upgrade the mobile data computers in the squad cars. It was for approximately $72,000 dollars to outfit our entire fleet so that everyone has access to a mobile computer. We are in the process of evaluating what computers we are going to go purchase.?
The other grant was for individual body cameras for officers out on patrol. Funding was not provided for that grant application. In hind sight, Chief Williams was okay with that result.
?The grant we wrote was for $25,000 just for the cameras and that didn?t include the server?, said Williams.
Complications and the expense comes with the server and all the regulatory requirements that come with it. It requires a dedicated server something the City does not have at this point.

Both Williams and City Manager Bob Hart felt that the Department needed more time to prepare.

Williams said, ?It is very much a big issue if you are going to store files on site. It has to be compliant with procedures where you cannot alter them [and] you have limited access to people who can download and record the video for evidentiary purposes [at local, state and federal levels]. There are a whole plethora of things that go into that. It is a lot more than just buying a camera and putting on a shirt.?
Williams added, ?This is definitely a very useful and needed tool but it is not an imperative type of tool that you either got to have it or you are not going to be able to do your job kind of thing. We can always apply for another grant next year and we may yet come up with a viable solution.?

?I think in the next couple of years we will be able to put cameras on our officers?, said Williams.

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