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ECSO applies for grant for 20 in-car computers
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Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies cars soon may be getting long-awaited computers.

The ECSO is applying for a U.S. Department of Justice grant that will enable the sheriff’s office to purchase 20 computers for its patrol cars. Along with the computers, the ECSO is buying air cards for the computers.

“This will allow the deputies to run (National Crime Information Center) checks, warrants and vehicle tags in their cars,” said Sgt. Ramsey Mannon. “It allows them to do their reports without having to come into the office.”

The grant is a maximum of $21,734 and the ECSO will be applying for $20,799 to cover the costs of the computers and air cards.

The sheriff’s department was supposed to get $11,000 in local assistance grants last year for in-car computers. But the grants throughout the state, about $6 million worth, fell under the state’s budget axe.

Currently, there are laptops in three sergeants’ patrol cars. Having the 20 additional in-car computers would free up sheriff’s dispatchers to handle more calls, rather than running license checks, Chief Deputy Richard Bush said.

“We’ll be able to have deputies stay on the street,” he said. “This is definitely good. We could use another 10 more.”

The three in-car computers in the sergeants’ patrol vehicles aren’t able to do all the things that the new computers will be able to do. The ECSO plans to upgrade their software so that they will be able to process reports on the in-car computers.

The ECSO also will be getting ankle bracelets for certain prisoners, after commissioners approved a lease agreement.

“It can’t be cut off and it can’t be tampered with,” Bush said. “It stays on them until we take it off.”

The bracelets also allow law enforcement officials to call the offenders wearing them. The bracelet is paid for by the person wearing it.

Offenders also can be tracked by GPS through the ankle bracelet. Sheriff’s deputies can set up zones that the offender is restricted from entering or leaving. If an offender is under house arrest, the bracelet notifies authorities if he has left his yard.