Officers at the Bowie Police Department are enjoying new computer software.
It's been 21 years since they got an upgrade. Unfortunately, it's not keeping up with the demands of the department.
"That system is no longer even, the company is no longer in business," Chief of Police Guy Green said, "There's no support for it anymore."
With no support, the problems they were experiencing only got worse. Chief Green said the system would freeze up, not let them log in, or just shut off completely.
"We were constantly having to reboot it and we were afraid it was just going to completely crash and we would lose everything," he said.
This would have been devastating for the department, since the old system has more than two decades of records on it. As for transferring the information onto the new system, "CRIMES," Chief Green said it would cost a lot. Plus, some of the files won't transfer property, so there's really no point.
"We're going to keep it and we still have access to it, but hopefully if we're no longer entering data into it, it won't stress it too much and make it crash," he said.
With the new system, it has a lot more capabilities for the officers and anyone in the police department. Officers now have the ability to check driver's license and license plate check all from their vehicles. In the past, they would have to call dispatch to get the information. In addition, each patrol unit is equipped with a printer that's connected to their computers, which allows them to type and print off tickets. This makes the process much quicker than having to write them out.
"That's the goal is to make us more efficient, make better use of our time, and better serve the public we work for," Chief Green said.
Officers have been using the system for almost a month. They said that everything is starting to make sense, but there is still some learning that needs to take place.
The cost of the new software is $15,000. This is for the yearly maintenance fees. City council members included this cost in the annual budget.