A proposal from the Gasconade County Sheriff's Department could result in the purchase of new laptop computers for the agency's patrol cars.
On Thursday, the Gasconade County Commission heard details of the potential project, which has not been signed off but will be considered. The proposal focuses on an Oct.7 meeting among County Clerk Lesa Lietzow, County Treasurer Mike Feagan, Major Roger Armstrong, and Interim Sheriff Scott Eiler for a discussion on the merits of the new in-car computers. Eiler was recently sworn in as interim sheriff, and is due to become the county's next sheriff as of 2021 -- with no formal opposition on the Nov. 3 ballot. He took over for departing interim Sheriff Mark Williams.
Eiler has said one of his campaign platforms in running for sheriff would involve working with county officials in crafting a new budget for the department in the coming year.
Reporting on the session, Lietzow said the idea stems from talks with Peace Maker Technologies, a Texas firm, that could lead toward the purchase of microbial laptop computers for use in the sheriff's department fleet. She said the materials used to produce the laptops are specially treated to provide a virus-proof protection -- and not limited solely to warding off COVID-19. The company has also provided the county with information on its products.
The idea of relying on the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) ACT is being floated for the computers, with their virus-proof materials as the basis in applying for the funds.
The Cuba Police Department has purchased such laptops, Lietzow told the commission.
The units can be mounted in the vehicles and can also be removed to make reports. The current estimate of purchasing 12 laptops with all necessary equipment, along with two desktop computers for the sheriff's office, comes to $130,000, said Lietzow.
Eiler has said some of the agency's current in-car computers are outdated and due for replacement. Lietzow said the group discussed the possibility of relying on the CARES funding without the need of resorting to county general revenue to pay for the laptops.
The commissioners gave the go-ahead for further exploration of the proposal.
"Have them look at it," said Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel. "See what it entails and go from there."
Feagan and Lietzow said the package would include printers to accompany the laptops and a bar code scanner to enable checks of driver's licenses and vehicle registrations. The Peace Maker laptops are designed to last a decade, with updates along the way.
As of last week, Gasconade County had $834,000 of a balance from a $1.7 million federal award in CARES funding, according to Lietzow and Feagan.
County officials will hold a Nov. 12 meeting for preparations in advance of writing and approving the 2021 budget.