In law enforcement, every second counts which is why the Oneida County Sheriff's Department is thrilled with its new computer system.
Sheriff's Department Office Manager Jill Butzlaff told the Oneida County Public Safety Committee last week the system has helped to create efficiencies within the department that weren't there before.
The new program, called New World Systems, went live in 2011 after the department was informed that the program it was using would no longer be supported by the company that created it.
According to Butzlaff, having to switch to the new program has been nothing but a blessing.
"It's an integrated computer system so that when a call comes into the dispatch center, they can assign an officer to the call and the officer can then see the call and the information on their computer in the squad (car) and can actually route themselves to the call," Butzlaff said. "They have a map available and can see where the other officers are on that call. They can also see what other calls are pending."
Once the officer starts investigating the call, he or she can then add whatever information that comes forward right into the system so that the dispatcher can instantly see what's going on.
"If the officer adds information into the system, a narrative line or any other information, the dispatcher can instantly see that, so it's easier to share information immediately," Butzlaff said. "The dispatcher can then add subjects to the call - a victim or a suspect or an involved party. Then if they do book someone into the jail, the jail has instant access to those subjects and can take that information and add to it - physical characteristics, a mug shot, things like that."
Having all of that information easily accessible in one place helps officers complete their incident reports, which are also digitalized thanks to the new program.
"We used to have a paper incident report that the officer would have to fill out with date occurred, who the subjects were, what the crime was, all of that. That information is now entered right into the computer," Butzlaff said.
The new program also helps with record-keeping.
"On the records side, we have to keep track of crimes and submit them to the state so we have access to all of that information and we don't have to reenter it," Butzlaff said.
New World Systems isn't just helping the Sheriff's Department share information internally, however. It is also helping the department share information more efficiently with the rest of the state.
"It's multi-jurisdictional, so we share with all of the other agencies within Oneida County and, with the interfaces we purchased for the system, that allows us to work with the other agencies in the state that are submitting data. We can see that information and they can see ours," Butzlaff said.
That part of the system is not live yet, but is expected to be up and running soon.
Finally, the new program can help assist crime victims by letting them known when those who have harmed them are back on the street.
"We also have a victim notification service that, when the corrections officer releases an inmate, if the victim of a crime has signed up to be notified when that inmate was released, they get a telephone call through the system that tells them the inmate has been released," Butzlaff said.
Butzlaff said the new program has brings together old and new systems in a seamless, efficient way.
"It really has the ability to take a whole bunch of separate, outlying systems that we had before and merge them all together in one," Butzlaff said.
Committee member Billy Fried said he had an opportunity to see the new program in action and was very impressed.
"There's a lot of efficiencies, a lot of information flowing now that they didn't have access to before. It's pretty neat," Fried said.
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at marcus@river newsonline.com.
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