Cruiser communications to lower scanner traffic

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PARIS – Those who enjoy listening to the police scanner are in for a disappointment.

Oxford County law enforcement agencies recently got a $187,193 grant to outfit their cruisers with technology that will reduce scanner traffic.

Nearly all the police chiefs in the county, along with officials from the Sheriff’s Office, were present when former Emergency Management Agency and 911 director Dan Schorr announced the grant to county commissioners Tuesday.

The money was part of $374,744 from the federal Department of Homeland Security that the county was awarded recently.

Schorr helped the county get the grant before he retired and wanted to see it through to the end, he said.

Information such as license checks and messaging between departments will now be done on laptop computers in each cruiser. The computers hook up to the Internet through U.S. Cellular, so the database can be accessed wherever there is cell service.

Departments that use the Spillman software, the county’s primary law enforcement database, can access bureau of motor vehicle data through the Internet.

That will ease the burden on county dispatchers, Regional Communications Center Director James P. Miclon said, but doesn’t decrease the need for them.

However, “The future need for dispatchers may go down,” he said.

The next few months will be busy ones for Miclon and Lt. Edward Quinn, who handles the computer systems for the Sheriff’s Office. Spillman officials will come to program the data, then Miclon and Quinn will work to implement it.

“This is one of the best grants the county has gotten,” Commissioner Steven Merrill said, commending the officers on the grant.

Jonathan Tibbetts, chief of the Oxford Police Department, said after the meeting that the grant will tie all the departments in.

The grant will mainly help law enforcement officials during traffic stops.

“Those listening in on the radio will not hear as much as they do now,” Schorr said. However, “officer safety may increase.”

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