Triad police department hopeful to move forward with projects despite COVID-19

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Triad police departments hope to move forward with equipment requests as they continue to patrol the streets during COVID-19.

As we near June and July, many cities will begin to draw up their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

There are already discussions over budget cuts, but law enforcement officers are hopeful those cuts won’t impact existing projects.

Leaders with the High Point Police Department, for example, have drafted a $1.38 million budget proposal to update their existing camera system. One they will present to the High Point Finance Committee on Thursday.

“We’re are at step one with dash cameras – this could take up into Phase 2 and 3,” explained High Point Lt. Matt Truitt.

The existing 135 dash cameras already installed have been in place since 2012, and have exceeded their life expectancy.

“The expense on them is just going up as we have to repair them, so it’s just time,” Truitt explained regarding the request.

The money will go toward installing new cameras in all of the patrol cars, and creating a storage system inside the department to save all the data.

It will also allow the department to purchase 135 body cameras for it’s uniformed officers.

“Where policing is today, policing is very different than how it was 20 years ago … the main thing is does it keep the checks and balance between the police department and the community we serve,” Truitt said.

High Point police are confident the budget will be approved, but say if not, they will present it again when the economy stables out.

In Winston-Salem, the bidding war continues over the instillation of a Gunshot Detection System.

According to Lt. Dorn, with the department, it will, “pinpoint where the gunfire was [when it happens] … helps us get there quickly before a 9-1-1 is even made to assists and to get suspect description a little quicker.”

Before COVID-19, outside companies began to bid on installing the system.

The bids have not stopped, but if approved, the selected company could be delayed in starting installation.

“Right now, I’m not sure if some of these companies could potentially be held up due to employers being off, or working from home. Or, not being able to get out in the field and do testing,” Dorn said.

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