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Elkhart Police getting new officers, equipment in 2018

ELKHART, Ind. -- The Elkhart Police Department has identified the ways it plans to make 2018 even better than last year. This year, the department will focus on hiring, improving safety, adding new equipment and upgrading existing equipment.

"We're always looking at things and what technology's out there and what can we do to make being at a crime scene quicker, what can we do to make it more accurate," said Sergeant Chris Snyder of the Elkhart Police Department.

Their first focus will be more manpower.

"For 2018 we added 5 additional police officers so that would have put us 6 short to last year's goal but where we want to be this year at 136 that puts us at about 11 short," Snyder said.

Focus number two will make their jobs safer.

The department is looking at new technology, for instance their airsoft firearm training will be replaced with simunition training.

"Kind of a glorified paint gun. Instead of shooting little plastic bb's it'll shoot like a paint-type pallet," Snyder said.

They'll be issued ballistic shields and disturbance gear.

"In the event that there was some type of shooting that occurred," Snyder said.

Their bomb unit robot, Cecil, will get new upgrades.

Officers will get new guns and less lethal rounds as well.

"With less lethal rounds that we'll be able to use it'll give us another tool to help us prevent lethal situations," Snyder said.

They'll also get a new surveillance trailer that will be posted in high-crime areas and at community events.

The night shift will get upgrades too.

"Thermal imaging light, which will allow us to better see what's going around us at night," Snyder said.

Evidence and detective techs will be getting new light source to aid in evidence collection.

"Instead of having to dust everything and put power everywhere they'd be able to use a light source to look for prints. This light source will help them preserve prints better than now," Snyder said.

They will also get a new 3-D imager for major crash scenes and homicide investigations.

"You can recreate that crime scene with a 3-D view. If we can put our time by half or two-thirds of how long we have to maintain a scene that is better for everyone," Snyder said.

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