Upgrades Coming for Selma Police Department

An old computer in use at the Selma Police Department
An old computer in use at the Selma Police Department
Police Chief William T. Riley III
Police Chief William T. Riley III

Selma, Al. (WSFA) -- The frustration grows with every keystroke Shanika Shannon makes.

It's not because of co-workers or a heavy workload at the Selma Police Department--but the antiquated computer equipment used to file police reports.

"Some days, the system goes down.  Maybe once or twice a month for days at a time, and that just happened to us about two weeks ago," Shanno explained.

It's a problem throughout the force.  Many of the software programs and computers themselves date back to the 1980s--a far cry from the technology needed to efficiently run a department.

That's why Police Chief William Riley asked for a change--$230,000 worth of improvements--to bring the Selma Police Department into the 21st century.

"Now, we're going to move into newer systems to make us a better police department so we can better serve the citizens of Selma," Riley said.

A much newer version of the software currently used, called "New World," promises to be the answer.

The program touts the ability to streamline the process, compiling data on criminals and plotting points on a map where most crimes occur.

"We have to make sure that [officers are] in the proper place to better respond to a crime or a need," Riley said.

With upwards of 20,000 residents and nearly 50 officers on the streets to protect them, authorities say any way to improve service in Selma would benefit the entire community.

"With the new equipment or new software, we will be able to keep on top of what's going on," Riley said.

Authorities say it's a much needed change SPD staffers--and the public--can look forward to.

NOTE: The upgrade accounts for nearly one-third of a $700,000 overhaul of the Selma Police Department.  The new software and computer systems, authorities say, will lay the groundwork for more improvements--perhaps even laptops for police officers--down the road.

Reporter: Cody Holyoke