Map & Track: New technology protects public

By Elizabeth White - bio | email | Twitter

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) Lee County Sheriff's dispatchers will soon be able to track every deputy patrolling the county, using a global positioning and mapping system. The real time technology will help better protect deputies and the public.

For Teresa Feltman, the scariest part of her job as a Lee County dispatcher, is loosing contact with a deputy, working an emergency call.

"Nothing worries us more than to have a deputy out on something and them not being able to answer a radio," Feltman explained.

But now, a new tracking and mapping system, using Sprint phone cards, GPS and Microsoft Virtual Earth Maps, is helping to ease that worry.

"It gives us a way of knowing exactly where they are last so we can get people to them. It can tell us direction, speed, time and we can go back and see what they were doing during a particular time of day,' explained Mayor Tommy Carter, with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

The system is already up and running in several of the sheriff's office patrol cars. The rest of the vehicles will come online by next week. Major Carters says the new technology is already working for their benefit.

"We had a chase last week that led the deputy into Russell County and the deputy did not know where he was at, we were able to zoom in and tell him where he was located," said Carter.

The new technology also means dispatchers no longer need to wait for units to radio in their positions, when figuring out who should respond to a call for help. They can instantly see the closest patrol unit to a particular call and send that deputy out for help. Major Carter says that will cut down on response times.

The system costs $6 a month per patrol car. A bargain price for a system Major Carter believes will protect and save lives.