State funds to help Utica Police buy high-tech equipment

Published Jul 14, 2017 at 4:00pm

State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47, Rome, on Thursday announced more than $100,000 in state funding he has secured to help enhance the Utica Police Department’s ability to keep the public safe.

“State funding is an invaluable asset to help local law enforcement agencies meet the needs and demands of the communities they serve,” said Griffo, adding that it is imperative for local law enforcers to have access to ever-evolving crime-fighting technology.

Standing outside the State Office Building, 207 Genesee St.,with Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and Utica Police Chief Mark Williams, Griffo announced that he has secured $55,000 in state funding to equip the department’s Mobile Command Center and $50,000 for license plate readers.

With the funds, the department will be able to purchase several multiband radios and laptop computers for the department’s new Mobile Command Center. Utilizing the upcoming Oneida County Emergency Services radio network, the multiband radios will allow the MCC to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with multiple federal, state and local police agencies, instead of having to carry two or more radios.

This equipment and capability is critical for law enforcement to have during times of crisis and emergencies. The laptops will also be essential in allowing officers to access in the field all of the files and programs on their office computers, officials said.

License plate readers are becoming invaluable to many criminal investigations, especially concerning violent crimes like robberies and shootings where suspects often leave their vehicles behind or have driven through the area previously, officials added.

With the Utica Police Department’s newly established Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center, their analyst will be able to immediately review data that is collected using these license plate readers to potentially link motor vehicles and their drivers to crimes that are under investigation. When scanning license plates – whether the vehicle is still or moving – an alert will go off when the plate reader comes across vehicles that are stolen, not properly registered or have been involved in a crime. These license plate readers are currently installed on three Utica police patrol vehicles.

“Our local police agencies are on the front lines of protecting the public, so we should do everything in our power to ensure they have the resources they need to meet today’s challenging demands of public safety,” Griffo said. 

“The better our officers are equipped with modern technology and resources, the better they will be able to prevent crimes, efficiently apprehend criminals and provide the most coordinated response possible during times of crisis,” Griffo said. “But many communities cannot afford these state-of-the-art tools on their own, so I will always do whatever I can to identify and secure valuable funding on behalf of our men and women in blue, like the Utica Police Department.”

“Resources such as license plate readers, computers and multi-band radios are essential tools in today’s modern era of law enforcement. Without these tools of the trade, our police department is at a huge disadvantage in the ability to keep our citizens safe,” Williams added.

“Law enforcement has evolved tremendously, and implementing the newest technology is essential in keeping our community safe,” Palmieri said.

“By securing these resources, the Utica Police Department can be more proactive in enhancing the quality of life for our residents. I thank Senator Griffo for once again delivering for Utica and making our needs a top priority,” the mayor added.