County testing GPS systems; Vehicles could soon be outfitted with devices

Published 12:12 am Monday, October 13, 2014

NATCHEZ — In the coming weeks, Adams County’s public employees could be watched from 1,200 miles up.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors is implementing a test program using a global positioning system (GPS) system to track county vehicles, including tractors and motor graders.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus first suggested the idea after speaking with local businesses that have implemented a similar program, he said.

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The program, which not only tracks the vehicles but can tell if they have stopped and if the motor was running when it was idle, stores tracking information for 30 days, Lazarus said.

“We already do work orders for the county, and a lot of people ask, ‘When was the last time grass was cut here?’” he said. “This way I can say the mowers were in your neighborhood this day, and they worked here.”

The tracking will also allow the county administrator to know if someone has taken a vehicle to a place they shouldn’t, Lazarus said, and will allow monitoring from a smartphone.

“I am not saying any employees are doing anything wrong, but now there is no chance of it happening,” he said.

“If someone says, ‘I saw one of your county vehicles here doing this,’ we can go back and check it.”

County Information Technology Director Lance Bishop said the test unit he has purchase for approximately $80 will be installed in Road Manager Robbie Dollar’s county vehicle. The cellular service necessary to keep the device active is $16 monthly.

“I wanted to get one in before we went down a path and bought a bunch of these,” he said. “After talking with Robbie, we agreed the best way to test it would be to put it in his truck. He knew where he was driving, so he could monitor it for accuracy.”

The package to install the GPS monitors in all county vehicles — including service — would cost less than $6,500 the first year and $4,500 for service for subsequent years, Bishop said.

The IT director said once the unit is installed in Dollar’s truck, he would make a report to the board assessing the program approximately two weeks later.