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GRANT TO GIVE CITY MORE COMPUTERS FOR POLICE FLEET

Mayor Kenneth D. Swan Wednesday announced that the city has received a second federal grant for the purchase of mobile police computers.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has approved the city's application for $58,384 under the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants program, Swan said.

That agency had previously granted Lockport $59,693, which was used to buy six laptop computers for installation in patrol cars.

The Police Department equipped four patrol cars, one captain's car, and a county Drug Task Force vehicle with the first batch of computers.

Police Chief Henry B. Newman said once the latest grant arrives, the city will buy about eight more computers, to complete installation in the remaining cars in its fleet, seven of which are unmarked.

"We're planning to take the computers that are in the marked cars now and put them in the unmarked cars," Newman said. He indicated that the new computers will be "ruggedized," built to better withstand the shocks of hard driving more likely to be encountered in a marked patrol vehicle.

Newman said the laptops are connected to the department's mainframe computer by a radio data frequency. Officers on the road can use them to access Department of Motor Vehicles records, arrest warrants, and city mug shots, which Newman said are now taken with a digital camera.

The chief said that feature is useful if an officer is attempting to serve a warrant or apprehend a suspect, but doesn't know what he looks like. If the person has been arrested before, the mug shot can be called up on the patrol car's computer screen.

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