The Biloxi police department isn't just trying to keep up with technology, officers say they're trying to anticipate its next move. On Tuesday, the city council approved more than $727,000 for new radios capable of operating on two different bands. Officials say this change and other improvements could make a significant difference for officers.
After Katrina Biloxi police officers say general communication was difficult.. but contacting a state agency was even more trying.
Sgt Louis Soldo said "We couldn't communicate very well. We'd have to call our dispatch, get them on the phone, get them to call the other agencies and that way we could communicate."
The hurricane destroyed many of the department's two-way radios, which were not water resistant. Now, the department is upgrading, by ordering 150 radios that are water resistant. The new radios are also capable operating on both state and local law enforcement radio bands.
"The state of Mississippi is going to the 700 system and along the coast we operate on the 800 system," said Sgt. Soldo. "In order for us to be able to communicate with state agencies, in case of a natural disaster, we decided to go with our dual capable radios."
The Biloxi police department is spending $800,000 to upgrade its Records Management System. Eventually officers will have lap tops in their squad cars.
Chief Bruce Dunagan said "If we're looking for a photograph release for a bank robber it can immediately be into that and almost immediately real the units have that instead of having to wait until the next briefing, paperwork to come out to them."
Officers say they want to be able to take advantage of all the high tech equipment available to them.
Sgt. Soldo said "Technology if you fall behind, you're lost. The way things are now days. You have to keep up."
The Biloxi city council also voted the purchase of four Chevy Tahoes and three Ford pickups for the police department. Chief Bruce Dunagan says the city had already approved more than a dozen Crown Victorias.