Welsh police chief installs GPS on all cars

WELSH — Police Chief Marcus Crochet is using a global positioning system to track police units to improve response time and officers’ safety.

Crochet recently began installing the GPS tracking systems on patrol units, including his own police unit, with the goal to have the system installed on all police units in the future.

The units track vehicle speed as well as movement and location of the vehicles. They also help monitor vehicle maintenance to include oil changes.

“The GPS helps us have more accountability and helps out with citizens complaints about officers speeding or not patrolling an area,” Crochet said.

The GPS devices provide the police chief with reports for each vehicle, including instant e-mails and text messages on speed and location of vehicles. He can be instantly notified when a vehicle leaves the city limits or a certain area.

“If a certain neighborhood complains about lack of patrols, I can go back and see when and how many times an officer patrolled that area,” he said. “And when somebody has a question about what the officers were doing or if we were patrolling last night or just sitting in the office all night we can pull that information up.”

The devices also help improve safety of the officers by pinpointing their last location, he said.

“If an officer is out of unit and the dispatcher cannot get a response, we can send someone to check on him,” he said.

Dispatchers also will soon have the capability of seeing where the vehicles are so that when an emergency call comes in, they can send the closest unit, thus improving response times to calls.

Several law enforcement agencies in the area have similar devices, including the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office and Jennings Police Department.