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AEP#039;s loss is Ironton police#039;s gain

Ironton Police Officers have acquired some much needed tools that should make their jobs a bit easier.

American Electric Power has donated the police department 10 Panasonic laptop computers, six Dell desktop computers and three Hewlett Packard LaserJet printers.

The laptops will go with officers when they handle calls. The officers will type their reports into the laptops and then at the end of their shift, download the information from their laptops into the main system at the office.

"It's going to improve efficiency and cut down on manpower hours," Police Chief Bill Garland said. "It's a godsend, believe me."

Right now, officers must handle a call, go back to the office with a paper report before going back out to handle another call. The laptops means the officers will spend more time in the field and less time at the station.

The office equipment will replace older, outdated systems the city can't afford to replace on its own, with the current financial crunch.

"For them to give us all this equipment is amazing," Garland said. "If I were to go and buy this it would cost us $25,000 if not more."

AEP Education consultant Debra McComb coordinates the corporation's donation program. McComb said AEP had leased the equipment, and at the end of the lease, had bought it with the intention of disposing of it by donating it to groups.

"Our first priority is education," McComb said. "Typically we look for schools and groups that provide after-school programs that focus on technology. After that, it goes to police departments and open shelter groups, things like that. Ironton applied, and there was a need, and they fulfilled all of our qualifications."

Educators and students may use donated PCs in making technology an integral part of the educational/learning process.

Non-profit organizations may use the PCs to update or expand their computing capabilities to better serve their communities.

More than 2500 PCs have been donated to schools, learning centers and community agencies across seven states since 1997.

The computer donation program will end in about a year, when all of the old equipment is gone. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune