KEARNEY — In an effort to provide added security and needed upgrades in technology, Kearney leaders are spending nearly $138,000 for new security and computer equipment for City Hall staff and the police department.
While the city had budgeted for upgrades, a budget amendment of roughly $38,000 was approved by aldermen Aug. 19 to pay for additional equipment.
“While we did adequately budget for workstation replacement, server replacements were not considered, which actually is a pressing issue,” said City Administrator Jim Eldridge. “Our servers are using a 2003 Windows operating system that is no longer supported by Microsoft.”
Computer workstations and server replacements will cost $97,028 while new police station cameras and a server for file storage is $37,947. For the prices, the city will receive from contractor Diamond Computers eight workstations, 13 Panasonic ToughBook laptops for police, multiple servers for system and equipment file backups and security cameras.
Eldridge said the city has been lucky up to this point because it never had annual line item replacements for computer or camera systems in the budget because a former Kearney officer who was gifted in technology usage built the systems the city currently has in place years ago. The officer kept equipment in good working order, he said, but now the system is out of date and the officer no longer works for the city.
“That’s why we wanted a consultant and have brought in Troy (Grammer) with Diamond Computers who will pick up where our former officer left off,” said Eldridge.
Grammer said the police server system will include two parts, one for the computer network and officer-issued Tasers and another to store officer body and vehicle camera video footage.
In addition to servers, the police department needed added cameras, said Sgt. Joe Kantola, as many security cameras on the police station building are original to the decades-old structure and some no longer work or produce grainy footage.
“We also want to set up a safe zone at the PD lot where people can come and do Craigslist purchase exchanges and people can do child custody exchanges,” he said. To make sure the area is as safe as possible and cameras include coverage of all angles, a new four-camera system with recorded audio and video is needed and included in expenses.