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April 9, 2009

ULM Police Department receives technology boost

Thanks to a $71,000 grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents, the University of Louisiana at Monroe Police Department utilizes state-of-the-art technology that significantly enhances the department's communication abilities.

“The core of a police department is effective communication,” ULM PD Chief Larry Ellerman said. “Seconds count. When we have the best and most expedient means to relay information, we function very well.”

The new software allows extremely efficient utilization of GPS units in the police cruisers, bringing with it paperless dispatch and upgrades to voiceless dispatch and the report writing system. The new hardware includes cameras strategically placed in the vehicles and buildings throughout campus along with the computer equipment to back them up.

The equipment enables the department to know where officers and cars are at all times. With the push of a button, detailed information and reports are instantly relayed back to headquarters. Vehicles contain video-monitoring equipment upgrades that relay camera footage to CDs for court appearances.

These enhancements to campus safety are a result of legislative funds set aside in 2007, according to Ellerman. Once it reached the regional level, distribution of funds was decided by student population.

“We are extremely grateful to the Board of Regents,” he said. “Since they gave us this grant, we probably have a better communication system than most large police departments.”

Ellerman constantly pursues available grant funds to strengthen the department’s resources. “We’re trying to be interoperable throughout the state after disasters like 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. Technology and communication can always be improved.”

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