AVL nearly set to go

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- City officials are in the final stages of testing an automatic vehicle location upgrade to all public safety vehicles that they say will help them remain more flexible in how they respond to incidents across the city.

The AVL system was a pricey new addition for the city, costing more than $584,000 to fully implement for 168 Albany police cars and 39 fire department vehicles, but officials say the service it provides by allowing more accountability and flexibility to the departments' leadership will benefit the city.

The system is now in the fourth of five testing levels, Deputy Emergency Management Director Jim Vaught said.

"We have the monitors up, and the units in the vehicles are working," he said. "We are just working out some of the final details on preferences for the fire department and police department and it will be done."

Vaught said full integration of the system likely won't come for at least another three weeks, but by mid-December it should be fully operational.

"We've already shown the employees what it's capable of doing and are just a few steps away from being completely up and running," Vaught said.

The AVL was paid for in part -- $180,000 -- using leftover funds from the 800 mhz radio transition from the last special sales tax referendum. The remainder was financed through the Georgia Municipal Association.

The units will allow supervisors to monitor the locations of their department's units to both ensure they are where they say they are and, in some cases, show the community that there have been, in fact, police units patrolling through certain neighborhoods.