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Washington Police Department looking to upgrade technology

The Washington Police Department is beginning to look into several equipment and technology upgrades as repairs are needed sooner than expected.

At the city council meeting Tuesday night, Washington Police Chief Jim Lester announced the motor in the canine vehicle “went kaput.” It was not slated for replacement for another two years, but the department is actively looking at replacements.

Two new vehicles have arrived to the department, but were a total of $8,000 over budget. Lester said this was because the vehicles were Dodge Durangos and not Chevrolet Tahoes and the existing equipment, such as what is used for prisoner transport, will not work in the other brand of vehicle. He said the department would also like to upgrade the in-car video systems, but because that is not in the budget currently, they will be exploring grant options to help offset the cost.

As for the other technology in the cars, such as the computers, Lester said the systems and servers need to be updated before January 2020 or all data will be lost. In total, five computer support systems will need to be replaced in the next six months.

Lester said he has been actively speaking with tech support to look into a possible lease program where the new computers and software could be integrated into a three-year program and remain under warranty as well. He said this will allow the department to also work the cost into the annual budget to prevent an upfront cost.

“We’re moving forward here, but that’s kind of a heads-up on what my last week-and-a-half has been,” he said.