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County to buy equipment for State Patrol Post 12

Through traffic enforcement in Grady County by the Georgia State Patrol, county coffers are boosted so when the GSP asks for assistance from the Grady County Board of Commissioners, our commissioners listen.
Sergeant Tracy Tabb, soon-to-be-commander of the Thomasville Post, made a presentation to county commissioners Tuesday regarding the purchase of bar code readers used by troopers to pull vital information from driver’s licenses.
Tabb explained that GSP vehicles are now equipped with laptop computers that are used to file all types of reports and issue traffic citations.
Tabb said when he began his career with the GSP 22 years ago, the cars were equipped with out-of-date single antenna radar units.
“Now, 95 percent of the work is done on computer,” Sgt. Tabb explained.
In making his case for the purchase of the bar code readers, Tabb explained that a trooper is at a safety disadvantage when having to look at the computer rather than being able to keep an eye on the stopped offender. He says with the bar code reader attached to the trooper’s computer, the lawman can instantly pull all of the driver’s vital information from the driver’s license and pull it into his computer.
“It is really a safety issue with us,” Sgt. Tabb said.
The incoming Thomasville commander requested Grady County commissioners purchase 17 card readers and he stressed that the equipment would be used in Grady County and would not be used by GSP posts other than the Thomasville post.
Tabb pointed out that fines collected in Grady County through the end of October, based on minimums, totaled $152,515.20. The 2010 fines collected here, based on minimum fines, totaled $217,077.00.
Grady County Commissioner T.D. David asked if Sgt. Tabb needed 17 and the GSP officer said not currently, but that  many would be needed based on pending transfers.
“I realize the benefit for Grady County, but can you assure me that you’ve asked the state for this money first, and why they wouldn’t provide the State Patrol with this equipment?” Grady County Commissioner Al Ball asked.
“Just like everyone else, the state is strapped,” Sgt. Tabb said.
Grady County Commission Chairman Charles Norton recalled an earlier request for assistance that he led the commission to vote down in 1997.
“I’ve been down this road before and I was opposed the first time. Back in 1997, there was a request for some new furniture for the post and I voted against it and the request was denied. There were eight citations in February and in December there was still eight citations written by the State Patrol. You could practically drive as fast as you wanted to and the troopers would wave at you. I’m not sure it works that way anymore,” Chairman Norton said.
Tabb emphasized that is not the way it would work. “Regardless, if you approve the request or not, the State Patrol will be working in Grady County. This is a target-rich environment and we go where the activity is. We will be here regardless,” Tabb said.
Commissioner David commented that the $7,293 investment was small compared to the fine revenue the county receives each year.
The board voted unanimously to purchase the bar code readers, pending the approval of Grady County’s donation by the Georgia Board of Public Safety.
Sgt. Tabb reported that he would be replacing SFC Scott Woodell, who has recently been promoted to lieutenant.

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