CONWAY, SC(WMBF) - The City of Conway Police Department is hoping to beef up public safety by adding more Mobile Data Terminals (MDT). According to Chief of Police Gosnell, they're very sophisticated laptops that act like mobile office for officers on the streets.
The department has a handful of MDTs. Conway Officer and Public Information Officer, Catina Hipp says using MDTs allows officers to spend more time patrolling the streets instead of being back in the office. Officers out in the field have access to real time information right at their finger tips.
"Computer dispatch calls are displayed, they get directions to their calls, and they get information about what their call is about."
The MDTs also give immediate access to criminal data to check on license plates, driver's license and wanted criminals.
Another advantage, they help free up the dispatch radio waves. "The few seconds that it takes for you to transmit over the radio, it's right there in the car with them, so they don't have to tie up the radio traffic new technology
Hipp says this is a plus for officers and the people they protect in Conway and in Horry County. Last summer the county took over the City of Conway's dispatch services. "The traffic on the channel does get kind of heavy, so the less time officers can spend on the radio and they can get the information, the better."
The department wants to double the number of MDTs. For the residents who live in the city, and the people who work there, new technology for police officers seems like a step in the right direction. "Anything that's going to beef up safety, it's better for everyone, said Jack Terry, a City of Conway business owner.
Each MDT costs about $11,000. Officer Hipp says the department already has about half a dozen, but it's time the department invests in adding more. Chief Gosnell says they are applying for a state grant to cover the costs of the new units. If they the department is awarded the grant money, they hope to have 10 new units installed by next summer.