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St. C. cruisers get new laptops

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The city police department received some new equipment to cut down on office work and increase officers’ time on the roads.

Officers will now have laptops installed in two of the cruisers.

“We were able to secure two of these rugged extreme vehicle-mounted data terminals,” Police Chief Matt Arbenz said. “These are going to allow the officers to do things in the car — run plates, run names, run reports, share information with other law-enforcement agencies instantaneously — instead of having to come back to the office to get some of these things done or reach out by phone.”

Megan Shaw, office manager at the police department, said the department received $8,320 through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

“We just actually got them in,” she said. “We were hoping for four (one for each cruiser), but we got two. We’re happy to have two.”

Shaw completed the grant application. She said the laptops will allow the department to operate with greater efficiency.

“Any of the work in the office they can now do from the cruisers,” she said. “They’ll be out on the streets more, and it also just helps with officer safety. … Sometimes it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get back to the office and do paperwork, sometimes even up to an hour. Now they can do it on the road.”

“The benefit is going to be huge as far as investigatory information goes. A lot of times, officers don’t want to put things over the air to central dispatch. They like to get that information in private, especially when the people they’re dealing with are right there in front of them. They don’t want them to hear what information’s coming back,” Arbenz said.

“We are very behind. All the surrounding counties, they have in-car laptops,” Shaw said. “It helps us assist with them and it also helps the city.

“It gives them more information on-hand instead of waiting for dispatch to get it back to them.”

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