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Morrow Police buys laptops with federal money

Chief: Old computers in cruisers were falling apart

Some of the laptop computers in Morrow police cruisers had aged to the point that they had outdated operating systems, while others were so worn out, brackets had to be attached to keep monitors from falling over, according to the city’s police chief.

Police Chief Jeff Baker said the city received $10,000 from the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ (FBI) Atlanta office earlier this year. He explained that the city applied for a portion of the more than $1 million surplus forfeiture assets that the federal agency was trying to dispose of before the end of its fiscal year.

The city was allowed to receive some of that money because of its past involvement with Innocent Images, which is the agency’s Atlanta-area child pornography task force, Baker said. He added that the Morrow Police Department applied to receive $90,000 of that money. The agency awarded $10,000 to the department, with the stipulation that it had to spend it before the end of this month, Baker said.

The department decided to put that money to use by replacing some of its worn-out computers. “We have an aging-computers issue that we’ve been trying to address,” Baker said. “So, we determined that our biggest need that could use our $10,000 windfall was to go ahead and replace some of those [computers].”

On Tuesday, the Morrow City Council unanimously approved spending $10,062.01, to buy seven new laptop computers and seven thermal printers. The federal money will cover the bulk of that, with the city being responsible to pay just $62.01.

Morrow City Manager Jeff Eady said that was just fine with him. “Sixty-two dollars and one-cent for seven laptops and seven printers sounds like a pretty good deal to me,” Eady told Baker during the council meeting this week. “I’ll take that.”

Baker said the police department has an existing computer-replacement schedule that calls for approximately three computers to be replaced in police cars each year. “But, with the change in our programming, there’s a different computer that we use now that conserves energy and paper ... so we decided to go with seven computers and seven printers,” he said.

The department has a total of 28 cruisers that are used for uniform patrol, according to Baker. He said the average age of a computer in a patrol car is three years, but he added some of the laptops are 5 years old.

“The operating systems are decrepit,” the police chief said. “This [federal money] helps us out to get a little bit more [computers than normal] this year, so we can equip those officers that have been having issues with their computers.”