With the help of some funds provided by New York State, the Erie County Sheriff's Department is installing updated technology in all of its patrol cars that tracks their whereabouts more precisely.
The devices, known as Automatic Vehicle Locators, will allow dispatchers to follow patrol cars in real time, updating on the dispatcher's computer screen every three to five seconds. Officials say having this improved system will serve not only the Sheriff's Department but also the general public, as it will help dispatchers determine what cars may be in the best position to respond to an emergency.
"Certainly we've got cars scattered around the county, well-placed," said Sheriff Timothy Howard. "But as the cars move around, if you had to go out and find a specific person, it would be very difficult to do without this."
The cost of the installation, which is expected to be completed by March, is $44,000. Erie County is providing most of the funding but they're also using $18,000 provided by State Senator Patrick Gallivan.
Gallivan, a former Erie County Sheriff and New York State Police Captain, explained that the money came to Albany through a federal distribution which, in turn, was given to Erie County by way of the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services.
"We have the different levels of government working together, law enforcers working with the legislature, county and state working together, all towards public safety," Gallivan said. "To the extend that we can continue to do that, and help provide funding for various pieces of equipment, we certainly will try."