LAWTON, OK (TNN) - Excitement is in the air for the City of Lawton as some divisions in the city are finding out they're getting some of the 220 laptops recently donated by CenterPoint Energy.
The Parks and Recreation Department is receiving a total of 15 laptops. They’ll go to the Owens Multipurpose Center, HC King Center, and Patterson Center. Right now, most of the kids who come to recreational centers in Lawton shoot hoops, play pool and hang out with their friends, but Jack Hanna, the Parks and Recreation director, hopes they can be more than just recreational centers.
"I think we can reach out and get more kids to our centers,” he said. “Maybe they're not so active in the recreational side, but this gives them an opportunity come to a center to have something they enjoy doing, being on a computer, but also being around their friends, and also they can get a skill that they may need to better their academic career in the school system."
Hanna hopes to put them in an open room so staff can easily monitor them. He plans on having the city's IT department sensor and block websites on the laptops to make sure what they're viewing online is appropriate. He said making computers available to the kids is something he's dreamed about doing for years.
"We can actually interact with the kids not just on a recreational side but on an academic side that we can help give some experiences and suggestions and ideas on how to maneuver through some of the programs that they may be struggling with in different math, science, reading, history areas,” he said. “So, I think it's pretty exciting because we get to be more involved with kids and watch them develop and grow."
City officials said funding for the needed software and installation will be identified by the departments.
The Parks and Rec Department is just one division getting laptops. City officials say about 12 divisions are supposed to get them. Some of the other places within the city are the fire department, engineering, the library, field utilities, and the Lawton Police Department.
LPD is set to get about half of the laptops. Sgt. Timothy Jenkins, with LPD, said officers will have them in their police cars and it will give them the ability to let them write reports and look up call histories from their car.
"It means a lot to have these in our cars. Being able to get information right there, on hand technology and not having to use a cell phone or something like that,” Sgt. Jenkins said. “It's safer for us, it's safer for our citizens, but it's more efficient for us to do our job as well."
Sgt. Jenkins said they hope to have the computers in the patrol cars by the end of the year. Hanna hopes to have the computers at the rec centers in the next 60 days.