Alabaster beefs up police software

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster Deputy Police Chief Curtis Rigney said the department’s officers will be safer and much better-informed when responding to calls after the Alabaster City Council voted to purchase new in-car and record-keeping software for the department.

During its Sept. 4 meeting, which was held at 1 p.m. shortly after the council canvassed the Aug. 28 election results, the council voted unanimously to purchase the new software for about $254,500.

“It will be a big help for us. We will be able to pass information along to an officer specific to that residence or that individual,” Rigney said.

Rigney also said the software will help the department to efficiently plot crime data to determine if a specific area has a higher-than-normal rate of a certain type of crime.

The vote came a few weeks after Southern Software company representative Danny McKinley made a presentation to the council during a work session. In addition to seeing a call history linked to a house or individual, officers also will be able to file their reports by using laptops in the field, McKinley said.

Currently, officers must travel to the police station as time allows during their shifts to file their reports.

The software also will allow officers to see a satellite-image map of an area before they respond 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.

Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow previously 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.

Included in the $254,500 price is the first year of maintenance on the program and training. The software will be installed on about 40 laptops the police department previously got for free from the Department of Defense, and likely will be up and running in January 2013.