Baltimore Police to buy hundreds of new computers

Baltimore Police plan to purchase 300 new computers for their nine police district stations, a long-needed upgrade that officials said will allow officers to work quicker and better use technology to fight crime.

The agency did not provide information on how much the upgrades will cost, how the purchase is being funded, or what type of machines it is buying. Since his arrival in 2012, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts has said repeatedly that the department's equipment is well beyond its expiration date, in some cases more than 20 years old.

In a news release, the agency said the older machines "do not have the capability to run modern programs used in law enforcement."

"We have a generation of officers [used] to high-end technology and they know how to use it effectively," Batts said in a statement. "We are going to provide them what they need so we can all work to reduce crime."

The investment is separate from $5 million earmarked in Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's recently-unveiled budget that officials said would allow police officers to file reports from crime scenes and their supervisors to better manage overtime costs.

Consultants hired by the Police Department to evaluate the agency concluded last fall that "the policing infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate to a deplorable level over time where today information technology, buildings, vehicles, and related assets no longer support the type of policing required to address Baltimore's problems."

"Police officers need to be able to work in a reasonable environment, with good equipment, clean and modern facilities, and modern communications," the consultants wrote.

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