Council OKs City of Fort Wayne to utilize GPS

FORT WAYNE, IN – The City of Fort Wayne hopes to track and deploy its police officers after the City Council gave a preliminary OK to buy GPS tracking devices for cruisers, according to The Journal Gazette.

The council voted 7-1-1 to spend $501,564 to install Global Positioning System-type tracking devices in 318 police vehicles. Councilman Tim Pape, D-5th, opposed the purchase, and Councilwoman Karen Goldner, D-2nd, abstained without giving a reason.

Pape tried to delay a vote on the purchase until the city better understood how a statewide property tax relief plan would affect the city's budget. He said the city might not be able to afford the expense if it faces budget cuts.

Police Chief Rusty York said the devices, from Spillman Technologies, would provide numerous benefits for the department. They will let dispatchers know which officers are closest to a scene, and officers can know how close their backup is before entering a dangerous situation.

We feel this is an officer safety issue, York said. York also said the system could be used by the city fire department and county police if those entities chose to pay for the individual vehicle units and licenses.

The cost will be paid by $200,000 in drug-seizure money, $75,000 from a grant and the remainder to be paid over five years as part of the departments equipment lease. York said the department would also have to pay an annual maintenance fee beginning in 2009 of about $46,000.