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Controversy Over Potential Tracking System For Madrid Police

MADRID, Iowa  -- On Monday, a controversial issue returned to the Madrid City Council agenda.

Madrid's interim mayor is considering new technology to improve law enforcement communication, but not everyone is sold on the idea. Residents gathered at the meeting to discuss the possibility of implementing the MACH/TRACS system--a communication software tool designed by the Iowa DOT that tracks officers--for the city’s police department.

The city council agreed to table the discussion.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department already uses the system.

"They can follow you in real time. There is a 20-second delay, that’s a huge thing if you are on a chase, you're not always aware of where you're at, especially at night," Deputy Andrew Godzicki said.

One Madrid officer agrees with the system's effectiveness but says the system that is more than $10,000 to install and maintain is better used elsewhere.

"I believe that if we are dealing with safety factors and something that is going to make us safer, it’s a unanimous vote across the board from us police officers that we would like to put that money and all of these unknown and future costs into hiring another officer," Officer John Mackey said.

Sheriff's deputies say the system cuts down on paperwork and makes it easier to communicate with dispatch, but can also be a driving distraction.

City council member Valarie Chapman backs the system.

“They can get a message from another officer that’s heading your way, they can log in and indicate where they are headed, and they can get a message from another officer that there is someone headed your way,” Chapman said.

Residents asked to have the discussion tabled until after the July 31st special election.

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