Digital buddy system eyed for patrol cars

FLINT TWP. — With staffing reduced, budgets tight and more police officers riding solo in patrol cars, the need for an extra set of eyes and ears is greater than ever.

So the Flint Township Police Department is looking at spending this year’s JAG allocation to buy video cameras for patrol cars.

Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds, administered by the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance, provides states and local governments with funding to improve law enforcement, prosecution, crime prevention and education, corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, technology and more.

Police George Sippert said he had received preliminary notice of about $226,615 funding for Genesee County this year. Flint Township acts as the fiduciary for the federal funds which are shared with Burton, Mt. Morris and the city of Flint, based on crime statistics in those areas.

Research has shown that the video cameras in patrol cars helped solve cases where an officer was hurt or killed in the line of duty, Sippert said.

Cameras previously purchased by the department in 2006 did not work well and were returned, he said.

The police department has spent JAG funds in recent years to purchase three new police cars and to upgrade its Crossmatch booking system which instantly match fingerprints on file in local, state and federal databases.

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