Alabaster likely to boost police software

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council likely will vote during its Sept. 4 meeting to upgrade the Alabaster Police Department’s in-car and record-keeping software, council members said during an Aug. 30 work session.

During the work session, Ward 2 Councilman Bob Hicks said the upgrade is “well overdue,” and other council members said they supported the issue.

If passed, it will cost the city up to about $254,000 to purchase and install software in every police cruiser and in the department’s records division. An annual maintenance fee will include any upgrades to the software, city officials previously said.

However, the cost could be lower if the city decides to handle the conversion from the current software to the new software in-house, City Administrator George Henry said.

The Alabaster Police Department has already acquired the laptops required for the upgrade for free from the Department of Defense, and the new software program would integrate with other software programs already being used in the city.

City Attorney Jeff Brumlow said the software purchase does not need to be put out for bids because the Southern Software company is the sole source matching the specifications outlined by the Alabaster Police Department.

During an Aug. 15 council work session, Southern Software representative Danny McKinley said the new software will allow officers to file reports by using laptops in the field. The new software also will allow officers in the field to receive detailed information about calls assigned to them.

Once an officer receives information about a call on his laptop, the officer will also be able to see a call and charge history associated with a particular residence or individual.

The software also will allow officers to see a satellite-image map of an area before he responds to a call, and will allow the department to more easily manage its police reports from 2004 to the present, McKinley said. The system will allow officers to quickly tell if a subject has any outstanding warrants, and will allow police officials to easily track officers’ statuses.

The council’s Sept. 4 meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Alabaster City Hall Annex building, and will take place immediately after a noon meeting to canvass the city’s Aug. 28 election results.