The Springfield Police Department's overall budget for the next fiscal year comes in at nearly $40 million, or 5.5 percent more than last year with the majority of that increase coming from salary and fringe benefits increase.
Springfield Police Department says they are working on technology issues
Police Chief Robert Williams says among the department's goals in the following year is to "catch up with technology."
Alderman Frank Edwards says it's "ridiculous" that officers are still handwriting reports and it's time to bring the department "into new century."
Williams says there are a host of challenges in modernizing the reporting process for police including computer server updates, bandwidth, and network connectivity, problems police say they've been working to overcome for four years.
Edwards says having the the problem for four years is "Mickey Mouse silliness."
Alderman Gail Simpson said the technology issue in the police department is a public safety concern. She went on to say it's disturbing and she doesn't feel safe. She later rescinded those comments saying she was being flippant. Simpson said she would be okay with increasing the department's travel budget in order to for police to study other departments that use modern reporting techniques.
The police budget asks for an increase of a quarter-of-a-million dollars in equipment dollars in anticipation of buying 50 new computers for squad cars. Chief Williams says the department's technology problems are priority number one and a group of 5 people are working on ways to update the department.
Aldermen must approve the budgets for all Springfield departments by March 1st.