Donations help Connellsville police replace crime-fighting equipment
By Mark Hofmann
Published: Monday, May 27, 2013, 4:57 p.m.
Donations from two local organizations are helping the Connellsville Police Department replace crime-fighting equipment.
“It's a little gesture of goodwill,” said Ted Kovall, president of the Yough River Trail Council and member of the Connellsville Lions Club.
Connellsville Police Chief James Capitos spoke at a recent Lions Club event, which spurred a $500 donation to the police department to help replace the onboard computers in their police vehicles. Kovall then approached the trail council about the donation, saying it costs about $1,000 to replace one computer, so the group presented a check for $1,000 to the department in April.
“I thank them for what they did,” Capitos said of the Lions and trail council. “We're extremely thankful for it.”
The onboard computers, also known as mobile data terminals, were old and in such bad shape that Capitos said they were calling technicians from their service providers in Pittsburgh to fix the system. Capitos said three police vehicles are equipped with the terminals and one was replaced after enough money was received.
The terminals enable officers to check on vehicles and people so they need not bother 911 to see whether there's a warrant out on an individual or if a vehicle has been reported stolen. Capitos said not calling 911 keeps traffic down on the radio system.
The terminals can tap into the surveillance cameras in East Park, Yough Park and Stewart's Crossing behind Martin's plaza. A police officer can move and zoom the cameras, as well as watch footage in real time and in recorded images.
“The computers in the cars are a godsend,” Capitos said, adding that they solved a crime by accessing the surveillance cameras with the computers. “Everything is right at your fingertips.”
Kovall said the trail council has provided donations to organizations such as the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce and the New Haven Hose Company Volunteer Fire Department whenever it can by scraping together donations and grant money.
“The police are always out there for us,” Kovall said, “and they can't raise money like we can.”
Kovall said not only do the police monitor the campground along the bike trail and keep tabs on the surveillance, they lock up the renovated red caboose at night while on their patrol.
Capitos said he plans on replacing the remaining two computers and will need $1,500 to do so.
Kovall said he hopes the donations made by the Lions Club and the Yough River Trail Council will spur other organizations to make a donation so the police department can reach the $1,500 goal.
“We appreciate everything the police and firefighters do for us,” Kovall said, “and people take them for granted. They do a heck of a job.”
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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