The Astoria Police Department has been awarded a $197,329 federal grant to purchase mobile data terminals for patrol cars. An MDT is also provided for the Astoria Fire Department. The purchase means Astoria and Warrenton police officers will now use a common computer aided dispatching system and records system.

"The resources provided by this grant will be very important to local police efficiency in future years," Astoria Police Chief Rob Deu Pree said. "The Warrenton police have recently obtained similar MDTs that use the Astoria computer-aided dispatching and records systems. Our project will add to theirs using the same base systems and allow for other law enforcement agencies to join, eventually creating a county-wide public safety data communications and records system."

Deu Pree thanked U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon, for his assistance in obtaining the grant, which was awarded through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, better known as COPS.

Deu Pree also credited Terri Peden, the Astoria Police Department's administrative assistant, with shepherding the application through a lengthy approval process.

Previously, the Astoria Police Department used a non-secure radio communications system. The use of mobile computers provides a secure communications system and allows access to a greater amount of information. Both systems will act as backups should one system fail.

The federal funds will also be used to upgrade computer technology to improve evidence handling and to purchase a mobile data computer for the Astoria Fire Department to give them access to a geographic information and mapping system, commonly known as GIS.

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