published Friday, April 1st, 2011

Ringgold police get digital upgrade

The Ringgold Police Department recently installed printers in several cruisers.  According to police the printer will save money for the city by eliminating the city clerk's fee to process tickets.
Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
The Ringgold Police Department recently installed printers in several cruisers. According to police the printer will save money for the city by eliminating the city clerk's fee to process tickets. Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

RINGGOLD, Ga.—When Deputy Chief Wilburn Dycus began working for the Ringgold Police Department 10 years ago, officers had to draw crash reports by hand using plastic rulers.

Now Ringgold officers are ahead of the curve, with printers in their patrol cars that allow them to print out tickets for any city violation from the road.

“Ten years ago we had never heard of printing a ticket out in the car,” Dycus said.

The printers have been installed in four patrol cars so far this week out of five.

One reason newly appointed Chief Dan Bilbrey was chosen in September 2010 to replace retired chief Charles Land was to make such changes, Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright said.

He said those changes “are bringing [the department] up with other departments within the area.”

The Ringgold City Council unanimously approved spending about $5,000 from the department’s capital improvement fund for the laptops and printers to be installed, Wright said.

The technology also means city employees don’t have to retype the information from tickets and enter it in the computer system, Bilbrey said. Once the officer enters the information in the computer, it goes straight to the court’s records, he said.

Installing the printers and laptops into patrol cars is only one of many changes Bilbrey said he has made to modernize the office.

“It’s always a good thing to keep up with technology and trends,” he said.

He has added a reserve officer team as back-up for the first team, Bilbrey said. Six applicants are being considered for the volunteer positions, which will help police patrol during community events, he said.

Police also were able to add a patrol car and fill another patrol officer position in January, which brings the department to eight full-time officers and two part-time ones, Bilbrey said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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