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Sheriff's Department upgrades dispatch technology

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Fairly soon, dispatchers for the Erie County Sheriff's Department will look at computer screens and see where every patrol car is in the county.

Using a state grant, the department is buying GPS transponders for the cars similar to those already used by State Police.

Scott Zylka is executive assistant to Sheriff Tim Howard. Working with State Police, Zylka says the devices will tell where officers are and where the nearest backup help is in an emergency.

"This is moving to the modern technology era and it's certainly going to help out with deputy safety, as well as public safety. So, if we're going to have a deputy who may get into a serious situation, where a domestic violence situation evolves into something larger and more dangerous, then we know where other cars are and we can dispatch them properly for proper backup," Zylka said.

Zylka says other departments are also looking to buy the devices so there will be a larger view of where police are. He says the units are really needed in the Southtowns where deputies and troopers are likely to be the only officers in a large area and dispatchers need to know how close they are.