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Extension computer donation to help agencies communicate
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A donation of old-but-functional computers from the Mississippi State University Extension Service will soon give local law enforcement, intelligence and public safety agencies connectivity for sharing information.
MSU Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Vice President Vance Watson said many emergency management agencies in small towns lack adequate computers. Extension’s donation will give these agencies additional communication tools to respond to criminal activities, natural disasters and emergencies.
Extension is partnering with the Mississippi Analysis and Information Center and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to distribute desktops and laptops. Some local agencies already have started using the computers they received, Watson said.
“Extension’s statewide network has been extensively upgraded in the past year,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to encourage agencies to gather and share information than by making it possible for them to do so by donating the computers.”
The computers will be distributed through Extension’s 82 county offices, said Dan Brook, head of Extension Computer Applications and Services.
Priority will be given to agencies with no computers. Agencies with outdated models will receive second priority, and those remaining will be considered based upon assessment information they submitted, he said.
“MSAIC is polling local emergency and law enforcement agencies around the state so we can transfer the equipment at the local level,” Brook said.
The Mississippi Department of Homeland Security established MSAIC as a fusion, or blended, center of intelligence gathering between federal, state and local entities. The center provides a safe, secure clearinghouse to quickly send and obtain information if a need arises.
“Connectivity will improve our ability to operate within a central location to protect our citizens,” said Elmo Collum, Extension disaster recovery preparedness coordinator. “We can mark and then track a pattern of activity that will provide clues or offer a solution to a problem.”
Law enforcement and emergency management agencies can contact the county Extension office for more information on the donated computers.
Writer: Patti Drapala