Dothan Wireless

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Each call a police officer answers often turns into mounds of paperwork, so the city of Dothan is looking into wireless technology that would save time and help workers be more efficient.

This wireless technology would not only benefit the police department. Utility workers, firefighters and maintenance crews could also be hooked up, and some say it's only a matter of time before all city workers are using wireless.

It seems like a win-win situation. City workers could have instant access to the city's database without the help of a dispatcher, plus it would save $75,000 in current landline costs. Not to mention it would simplify communication between those in the office and workers in the field.

City Manager Mike West says, "As we get people who come in during the day, and if for some reason had their water or electricity turned off, she'll be able to look and find who's the closest person that will be able to provide the service."

And as electronics get cheaper, there is growing reason to have the technology in Dothan. In the community investment plan that was proposed last week, city manager Mike West included an additional $100,000 in funding for the move.

The city of Dothan's public information officer, Cynthia Green, says, "Anyone that is out in the field, that will enable them to enter their data into laptop computers, keeping them from having to run back to the office to look up information. It's just more effective technology that we can provide to help them do their jobs better."

A lot of cities across the country already have this technology. It would serve as a back-up to Dothan's existing fiber-optic network.

There are still some concerns. The city needs to consider whether employees in the field would be capable of using the technology and how much extra training would cost. The item has been put on the agenda for consideration at next week's commission meeting.