LaGrange receives $1.4 million public safety grant

Published 9:00 am Friday, June 9, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Thursday a $1.4 million grant award to the City of LaGrange for public safety improvements.

The funds are part of 118 preliminary grant awards totaling more than $83 million statewide. The grants aim to improve local-level public safety measures and address law enforcement staffing issues that began during the pandemic.

According to the governor’s office, the City of LaGrange has been awarded $1,430,000 to invest in a complete technological overhaul of its existing data tracking system.

LaGrange Police Chief Garrett Fiveash explained that the funds will be used to replace the outdated Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and Records Management System (RMS) that LPD, the sheriff’s office and Troup 911 currently use.

“They’re basically three different programs that are all made by the same company, but none of the programs talk to each other, and it’s become a big safety issue with the deputies and with the police officers,” Fiveash said.

The CAD system plots public safety personnel on a map where 911 can keep up with everybody, according to Fiveash.

Fiveash said they have had issues with the current system randomly removing officers and their locations, which he said he recently experienced.

“I was working and the CAD basically shows you, and it plots you on the map where you are so 911 can keep up with everybody. I get back in the car, and I’m just gone off the system. Nobody took me off the system. It just randomly deleted me out of the system, at which point nobody can see where I’m at anymore. That’s obviously a problem,” Fiveash said.

Fiveash said they’ve been with the same company for about 11 years and have made repeated requests for them to fix things, but they’re only ever told that it will be fixed.

“Well, it’s not getting fixed, and everybody’s fed up with it,” Fiveash said.

Fiveash said the grant money will fund the system for the police department, the sheriff’s office, the fire department and E-911 so that they’re all on the same system. It will allow all three to share information on their location.

“If anybody needs help, we know instantly where someone’s at whether we can get them by radio or telephone or not,” Fiveash said.

Fiveash said the new dispatch system will help guide law enforcement officers and fire department personnel to emergency calls and potentially speed up response times.

“Public safety has always been a top priority of my administration and will continue to be,” Kemp said in a press release announcing the grant awards. “With the increase in violent crime seen in communities across the country, including here in our state, we’re sending reinforcements to keep hardworking Georgians and their neighborhoods safe. From tackling staffing needs to deploying new equipment and technology, these funds are being invested so that our brave first responders have the resources they need to fight back against dangerous criminals.”