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Date last updated: Wednesday, March 21, 12:11 PST

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Ga. department gets grant for technology upgrades

By Joy Lukachick
Chattanooga Times Free Press

Ringgold, Ga., officers are replacing old equipment in their patrol cars and updating computer systems with a $10,000 state grant.

"[The department's] got budget restraints to deal with and tornadoes last year [that crippled] the city's revenue," police Chief Dan Bilbrey said. "It definitely helps."

The public safety partnership grant awarded earlier this year to Ringgold by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is the first grant the department has received, Bilbrey said.

Agencies that work with the office can qualify for this grant, he said.

Ringgold police have promoted road safety through state programs including the 100 Days of Summer Heat campaign, Bilbrey said. That program focused on enforcement of traffic laws such as seat belt safety and speeding from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day last year, according to the highway safety office.

Ringgold police used the grant to buy laptops, sensors for alcohol detection, a laser unit for speed detection, video systems and a scanner, a news release states.

"The goal of the grant is to reward agencies for their proactive approach to traffic safety and to provide them with the necessary tools to effectively continue their lifesaving efforts," Harris Blackwood with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety said in the release.

Police are required to use the money to improve road safety equipment, Bilbrey said. The computer system the department purchased will be used to maintain traffic statistics, he said. Other equipment will replace old and outdated tools, Bilbrey said.

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