Whitehall police to get new computers for cruisers

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Whitehall police will have updated computers in their cruisers after City Council Nov. 20 agreed to spend $115,000 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund to purchase the equipment.

Keith Singleton, founder of Armada Group, Inc. in Westerville, presented a demonstration of the mobile data computers Whitehall Police Chief Richard Zitzke had recommened the city purchase.  

The chief believes the current computer system for cruisers is outdated and unreliable., and the new system would be more cost-effective, and will provide a more efficient service to officers.

Singleton partnered with Creative Microsystems, Inc (CMI) to design Authority Mobile Safety, which will give more pertinent information to an officer when a license number is entered during a traffic stop.  

Information will appear that will include the owner’s driver’s license information and a photo, along with any information from other surrounding cities on the system regarding outstanding warrants, or problems on previous traffic stops.

The AMS will be also have access to LEADS, as well as any other department using the system.  Officers can instant- message one another across the state, and information they receive at roll call can also be put into the system prior to their even going to roll call.  

Not only will this give better access across the state, but it will speed up the process of sending out information for missing children and warrants.  

Singleton was a police officer with Columbus for 15 years.  He said that he always thought the technology could be better, enabling officers to solve crimes much faster.  That was the driving force behind his product development.

In other business, council approved re-hiring former council clerk Carol Churchman, who retired in September.  Churchman had to wait at least two months, per Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System rules, to be able to return.  

She will begin Dec. 1 as a part-time employee without benefits at $25 an hour.  

Councilwoman Leslie LaCorte was the only member to cast a negative vote.  She explained that she felt the $25 was too high for a part-time position of 35 hours per week after the same employee had retired from her post as a full-time council clerk making only a few dollars more than the new part-time wage.  

"I look forward to having Carol back as the clerk, but I just do not agree with the wage scale," said LaCorte.  

City Attorney-elect Mike Shannon will step into his new job Dec. 3, vacating his at-large council seat.  He has not yet been sworn in.  

Former City Attorney Cheryl Nester resigned in September, and council made a decision in October to appoint whichever candidate would win the November election.  Kevin Shannon, brother of Mike Shannon, has been serving as the interim city attorney.

Shannon was also President Pro-Tem.  Council voted to appoint Ward 2 council member, Zach Woodruff to the position.

The meeting opened with a moment of silence to honor city employee Mitchell Lewis, who died Nov. 18 after a battle with cancer.  Lewis worked in the Service Department.  

Service Director Ray Ogden, who described Lewis as a good man, hard worker, good  citizen, and wonderful family man, said that he would be sorely missed as an employee and friend.  

"Our true blessings are the people in our lives," offered Ogden.

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