Dig down, and find the dollars

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2008

The issue: Our police department is far behind in technology and manpower.

Our position: Recently, the Selma City Council awarded a request for some police needs. The council needs to get behind the chief and move forward.

One of the most important aspects of a community is its public safety.

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The same could be said for Selma.

This city needs some help. It&8217;s up to the Selma City Council to give the police department some assistance.

Recently, the city council approved $742,077 in additional money to the police department to come from unrestricted cash funds.

We have pointed out the need for training. Before a department can train, it needs manpower. The current police department needs nine more officers, according to chief William Riley III.

We need these folks on the roads and in the neighborhoods. That&8217;s what the $48,000 police study said, and our police chief concurs.

Then, let&8217;s recruit the best we can find out of our colleges and universities, run thorough background checks on them and train them.

Riley&8217;s department needs computers. Some of the machines in the police department are so old, they are running Windows 95, which came out on Aug. 24, 1995, almost 13 years ago.

Since that time, computers have gotten faster and smaller, more efficient. The operating systems have changed. Most people are running Windows XP or Vista on their personal computers, unless they own an Apple.

Most software is written compatible with the new operating systems for computers. That means most of the computers in our city&8217;s law enforcement department are outdated.

Some of them are dummy terminals, used only for writing letters, and even then, they are not efficient.

The city council needs to dig down deep, find some money and instruct &8212; no demand &8212; that Riley take the money and recruit men and women to put on the street.

He needs to have the money to pay the salaries that these young men and women with college degrees expect to have. He needs to have the ability to add incentives because we are competing with other cities in places with more to offer young people fresh out of college.

Riley should be encouraged to update all the machines in his office and given the funds to do so as soon as possible.

Policing these days depends so much on technology. These computers are needed to track what goes on here to see if there is a pattern, then the manpower at the department will work more efficiently because resources are directed in the proper manner.

Riley has proven his mettle, so far. The police department is undergoing some changes, but the general feel is that this man knows what he is doing.

Ask nearly any cop on the street.

Now that it appears we have the right person in the right job, let&8217;s give him the tools with which to work, so all of us can live, work and play safely.