Law enforcement officials and officers with the Gautier Police Department are getting fresh, state-of-the-art safety and security enhancement equipment meant to protect the public and police officers just in time for the new year.
Gautier Mayor Casey Vaughan said the city is set to receive $510,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to improve equipment for the department, including both body-worn and in-car camera systems, a dispatch control station, and a radio system.
The funding was included in the 2023 appropriations package signed into law in December 2022.
“Replacing the Gautier Police Department’s outdated equipment and technology will help to ensure both the safety of our community and the brave men and women who make up Gautier’s law enforcement agencies,” Mayor Casey Vaughan said. “We thank U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and former U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo for helping to secure this critical investment, which will provide the most efficient safety services to the residents of Gautier.”
The new cameras will increase efficiency and safety by turning on automatically and uploading video footage as soon as officers arrive at the station. Improved software will also allow officers to review camera footage easier and retain video for a longer period. The systems will also be GPS-enabled for added security and include other enhanced safety features, such as alerting the department if an officer has been in a supine position for an extended period.
“The Gautier Police Department is committed to keeping our community safe, and this important federal funding will provide our officers and dispatchers with the technology and tools they need to do just that while ensuring their own wellbeing,” Police Chief David Bever said. “The updates to GPD’s system will also enhance the flow of time-sensitive information and allow for better coordination and response during inter-jurisdictional emergencies.”
The department’s current dispatch control system is more than 13 years old and is unserviceable for repairs, limiting the department’s ability to communicate during inclement weather and emergency events.
The new system will be P25-compliant, which will allow Gautier law enforcement to contact surrounding agencies regardless of the communication equipment the other agencies employ. This will enhance the effectiveness and flow of information within the department and allow for better coordination and response in the case of emergencies that cross county or state lines.
The project received widespread community support from Gautier’s elected officials, law enforcement leaders, and local residents and businesses, Vaughn said.