Milton-Freewater grant helps police patrol schools

The school district-sought grant pays for mobile data systems in city patrol cars.

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MILTON-FREEWATER — Milton-Freewater police will now have mobile data systems and laptop computers in their patrol cars to assist with tackling crime in the city.

The department recently received a $16,083 grant from the Milton-Freewater Area Foundation to buy laptops, software and equipment. The grant was sought and secured by Milton-Freewater School District Interim Superintendent Jim Reger, who submitted the request on behalf of the district and police department.

Reger said he was compelled to seek the grant when he learned the city’s police patrol vehicles were not equipped to view feeds from security cameras installed in district schools.

“I thought they already had that capability,” Reger said. After learning of the police department’s needs, Reger sought the grant through the Area Foundation, knowing a deadline for applications was approaching.

“It just so happened that the first place I tried was successful,” Reger said.

Reger received the check soon after being notified of the award and presented it to the police department, he said. He said Wednesday that he learned the computers and equipment have already been ordered.

The equipment will be used in part to help monitor activity on the nearly 100 security cameras installed throughout the district’s five schools, with the majority installed at McLoughlin High School. Surveillance cameras are also installed at Pleasant View Alternative High School.

The police department was able to monitor the district’s security cameras from its headquarters, but not by officers in patrol vehicles. Likewise, patrol officers would only run information on suspect vehicles or other information through dispatch.

The laptop computers will support the department in regular patrol work without the need to run details and information through dispatch.

“I think not only will it improve safety and security at schools, it will make the police department more efficient,” Reger said.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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