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Greenwood putting GPS in police cars

The City of Greenwood is deploying a new GPS tracking system on more than 100 police cars and other city vehicles in a bid to save money and increase efficiency.

Greenwood is believed to be the first city in Mississippi to use GPS in city vehicles. There are no state agencies that keep statistics on police departments of municipalities.

The state’s Bureau of Fleet Management said there is a lot of talk about using GPS systems at state and local levels.

Greenwood will use the FleetMatics GPS Tracking System, which offers various management reports providing data on speed, idling time, mileage and historical journeys. The system uses a Google Maps feature that allows the city to pinpoint the exact location of its vehicles in real-time. Dispatchers know when a vehicle is started up, in motion and shut down. The information can be accessed by authorized users from any Internet-enabled computer.

The system will cost the city $55,200 per year, and Mayor Carolyn McAdams expects to see savings in fuel alone by April.

“We realized that in order to better serve our city and save taxpayer dollars, we needed to increase productivity and reduce fuel costs,” McAdams said. “Technology like FleetMatics’ GPS tracking gives us the ability to track the exact location of every vehicle in our fleet and provides us with vital data we can use to make government services more productive.”

The incentive for implementing the system was not so the city could say, “Hey, we caught you,” but so the city could make taxpayer money go as far as possible, McAdams said.

“This will bring awareness for employees…When you get out of a vehicle, turn it off,” McAdams added.

GPS boxes have been installed in almost all of the city’s 115 vehicles. Reports from the tracking system can show how many hours a day any particular vehicle has been idling. Some were idling up to eight hours per day, McAdams said.

The system will also increase accountability. Since taking office in June 2009, McAdams estimates she has gotten 10 complaints per week regarding city vehicles speeding. “Now we have the capability of knowing which car is doing what,” she said.

The GPS boxes installed within the police cars and other city vehicles are protected with a special seal that will show signs if tampered with.

McAdams previously served as warden of Delta Correctional Facility in Leflore County, which she feels gives her insight on police work.

Several other government entities in Mississippi, including Leflore County, are also interested in using the system, a FleetMatics spokesperson said.


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