Rochelle Police receive $10,000 technology grant

Published 2:15 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2021

 

Rochelle Police Chief show one of four mobile computers and printers that was purchased with a $10,000 technology grant. Photo by Neil B. McGahee

 

 

Money dedicated to better communication equipment

By Neil B. McGahee

Managing Editor

 

Rochelle Police Chief Mickey Barfield felt his officers were getting behind the eight ball as far as keeping up with current police technology.

“All of these smaller agencies like ourselves; it’s hard to come by the funds to purchase items like this,” he said. “Just the four computers, the printers and of course installation used up most of the grant.”

Last summer, Barfield said he contacted the

Georgia Chiefs Association to inquire about a technology grant it offered.

They said they had already distributed all their funds but offered to include him on a waiting list for next year when the funds come available.

“In January, I got a call that they had awarded the Rochelle Police Department a $10,000 technology grant,” Barfield said. “It enables small police departments to purchase computers for their cars along with the stands and printers.”

“We were wasting a lot of precious time and public visibility,” Barfield said. “After every call that required a written report, the responding officer would come back to the station to write his report. That keeps him off the street and unable to take calls and out of sight of the citizens.”

That last part is crucial.

Visibility lets the citizens know they are being protected and lets the bad guys know they are being watched.

“We average about 275 to 350 calls a month,” he said. “And that includes everything from issuing a speeding ticket to responding to a fight or a shooting.

“The state of Georgia mandates now that we report a lot of information to them and this new technology will allow us to meet that mandate.”

 

 

 

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.