Published Date Written by Gail OberLACONIA — After getting two consecutive grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, the city Police Department has completed an upgrade of its communications center.
Yesterday police commissioners and Ward 4 City Councilor Brenda Baer toured the new dispatch center that includes new computer monitors, a large 9-1-1 screen with mapping, a new floor, and a completely revamped furniture system that allows for easy access to the wiring panels.
Chief Chris Adams said the department fields about 100,000 phone calls and 9-1-1 calls annually. Laconia dispatched is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to Lt. Rich Simmons and Capt. Bill Clary, the old furniture and wax tile floor meant that because the computers hard drives actually sat on the floor, the area around them couldn't be cleaned. The upgrade allowed the department to get everything off the floor and to contain the wiring panel.
Simmons said there were two PVC pipes holding up the entire table and that "it was ready to come down."
He said the grant writing process for began about three years ago and in 2011 and 2012 the department was able to secure $37,000 in JAG grant assistance that covered the entire renovation, except hiring an electrician. Simmons estimated the electrician cost the department a few hundred dollars.
Simmons said the floor was installed with the help of the Parks and Recreation Department and is the same type of flooring in city hall. Clary said the money for the floor came from the Police Department building maintenance line.
The department took the old furniture and the used monitors and installed them into the patrol officers' room. Simmons said the new set up is a great improvement over what the officers had before.
This begins the 11th year the Police Department has been in its New Salem Street building. When the station opened in 2003, it was the first time the LPD had a space that was built for police work and not a renovated building somewhere in the downtown area.