SWC approves purchase of new phones for departments

SOUTHWEST CITY -- Police Chief Bud Gow, on Jan. 10, requested the city council purchase six new cell phones for the police and fire departments in Southwest City. As the departments integrate "ITI Solutions" software into their systems, these cell phones will be an intricate part of keeping the city safe.

On Dec. 13, Gow requested the council approve the purchase of ITI solutions software from tech company Omnigo for the Police Department for $4,500.

Omnigo is a software company and, according to the company's website, ITI Solutions is a "comprehensive software created by law enforcement professionals, for law enforcement professionals."

The software will help speed up the process of writing tickets. Before then, the department would have to write hard-copy tickets, but this software will be faster, easier and more efficient, Gow explained.

"We're going to require the internet for our ITI program," said Gow. "We can hotspot off the cell phones into our computer to make our own Omnigo program work."

The phones will supply data to the Omnigo software and equipment and take "crime scene or accident photos." The departments can also install the "Life360" application on the phones, which will allow law enforcement to keep track of each other's positions.

Gow also requested these six new cell phones be split between the police and fire departments. He informed the council of an application he installed on Fire Chief Shane Clark's tablet. That application helps the fire department strategically map out a fire and synchronize each firefighter's position. With the phone supplying data to Clark's tablet, he can use any technology at his disposal to combat a fire.

Some residents might conclude the city could save money if it just allowed the departments to use their own personal cell phones while on site. As of now, that's what the departments are doing.

While this may save the city money, it presents a few problems for law enforcement.

"Here's the deal," said Gow. "We usually use our own cell phones to take pictures of crime scenes. (The phones) can be subpoenaed, which means they can take our cell phones from us."

This will cause a disturbance since it's the phones -- not pictures -- that are confiscated in the event of an investigation. Phones purchased by the city will ensure all the departments remain in constant communication with no interruptions.

Another potential problem is the cell service within the city. As of now, officers in the department use different cell services. For example, one officer uses AT&T cell service. Gow asserts this cell service isn't optimal for the city, and "he has to go to the hill to call (his officer)."

Having the department phones connected with the same cell service will help provide the best possible communication between law enforcement officers.

Some might ask, "How much will this cost the city?"

According to Gow, the initial price for all six cell phones will cost the city $210 per month. If the city sets up an automated payment plan with the company, it will drop the price to $180 per month.

One member said the price was reasonable, and he was paying $120 just for his personal cell phone.

The city council approved the purchase of the phones.