Officers will cruise with new computers


Hampstead police officers will be able to take their computers right into their cruisers thanks to a Town Council approval of three laptops for the seven-member force.

The laptops were approved by the council last night as part of a $10,000 request for furnishings for the new police station. Town Manager Kenneth Decker had asked for the additional money for blinds or drapes, furniture and the computers.

The town had planned to buy desktop computers for the officers, but Decker and Police Chief Kenneth Meekins decided to purchase Dell laptops that officers can take on the road. The three laptops cost about $2,000 each, about $500 more than a desk computer.

"They can fill out reports on the computer instead of writing it out by hand and bringing it back to transcribe," Decker said.

Officers also will have access to the Police Department database when investigating a case, Decker said.

When they pull over on the streets to fill out their reports, that's less down time they spend at a desk at the station, Decker said. They maintain a visible presence because drivers tend to slow when they pass a cruiser, he said.

Renovation of the police station is nearing completion in the former First National Bank of Hampstead building. An open house is scheduled for Aug. 27.

In other business, the council heard a request from Shiloh Run Homeowners Association to have police enforce resident-only permit parking on Dakota Road, between Caton Road and Brittany Lane, but put off a decision until next month.

Dakota Road residents had complained about North Carroll High School students parking along their street during school hours.

Town officials have said they are willing to enforce resident-only parking as long as the homeowner association and residents agree on the terms and handle the administration of permits.

But with disagreement brewing among several residents who attended the council meeting, council members said they would not make a decision until the neighbors resolve the problem among themselves.

A homeowner's association vote is scheduled for July 20.

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