CLEARFIELD – Lawrence Township Police Chief Mark Brooks reported to the supervisors at Tuesday night’s meeting that the department had been contacted by the Pennsylvania State Police to participate in the state’s TraCS project.
Brooks said he had reported to the supervisors in January that Officer Elliott Neeper was looking into the program. However, because of the size of the township’s police department and its call volume, Brooks said, the state requested the department’s participation.
TraCS, or Traffic and Criminal Software, was developed by the Iowa Department of Transportation, and is supported by the National Model Steering Committee through a Federal-State partnership that includes Iowa DOT, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Pennsylvania State Police administrate the program for Pennsylvania. In alliance with other state agencies, the Pennsylvania State Police have developed the “TraCS to Locals” project, with a goal to implement the TraCS software to at least 20 local law enforcement agencies in 2015.
Neeper presented the supervisors with an estimate of the needed computer equipment to operate the TraCS program. The estimate includes two tablet PCs with a digital camera, three-year warranty, vehicle docking stations and printers for a total cost of $5,307 from Island Tech, Brook Haven, NY. Neeper added that an additional cost will be for unlimited-data Internet contract with Verizon for $40 per month.
The program will allow police officers to upload DMV reports, provide computer-generated and printed traffic citations, scan magnetic information from driver’s licenses, computer screen signing of documents, digital camera for crime scene or accident photography, records GPS data, and more, according to Brooks and Neeper.
Brooks said the cost savings and the benefits to the department and community, are well worth the expense of the equipment. He noted that the software and training are provided through the Pennsylvania State Police with grant funding.
The supervisors approved the purchase of the computer equipment for the program. Brooks said the state is ready to move forward with the program.
Brooks also reported that statistics for last month include 42 traffic arrests. He noted the increase in arrests is due to the Second Wave Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving program, which targets high driving accident areas and observed aggressive driving behavior.
The department is sending Officer Julie Curry for “Right Turn” program training, Brooks said. He described the program as targeting police interaction with persons with mental illness, and trains how to identify mental illness characteristics and skills for controlling situations dealing with mentally ill individuals.
Brooks said the new sports utility vehicle has been delivered from Team Force and only needs radio equipment installed before it is put in service. The new vehicle will replace the 2009 Crown Victoria, Brooks added, which will be retained for administrative travel.