PARIS — The Oxford County Sheriff’s Office is asking county commissioners to swap 20 smartphones for new Apple iPhone 5s, which include a GPS tracking program.

Deputies have 23 smartphones with video and Internet capabilities and seven cellphones with call and text capabilities.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking commissioners to swap 20 phones eligible for an upgrade through U.S. Cellular for the iPhone 5s. The touchscreen phones would come with a fully loaded package of unlimited talk, texting and video.

Deputies told commissioners the equipment would enhance their effectiveness in the field.

“The iPhones give us a huge safety feature as they have a GPS tracking program. If an officer can’t make it to the radio, or we can’t reach them, we can track exactly where they are,” Chief Deputy Hart Daley said. 

Daley said the iPhones will give deputies in far-flung, rural areas the ability to instantly check on laws, snap a quality photo of a crime scene and upload it to investigators. 

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Under the plan, everyone would have the same product. The plan would be rolled out piecemeal as phone contracts expire.

Two options pitched include purchasing the iPhones outright for $3,000 and a $1,390 monthly fee — that’s about $285 more than the county is paying now — or financing the phones with the option of swapping them later at a monthly cost of $1,245. 

County Administrator Scott Cole said the county is considering the proposal, though it believes deputies are currently well-equipped.

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