Commissioners Approve New Sheriff’s Office Computer System

By Susie Vasquez

Commissioners moved forward on the purchase of a $1.1 million computer-aided dispatch system for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Contracts for the purchase, which includes records and jail management systems, were approved at the county commissioners' meeting Thursday.

“We view this new system as important for safety of law enforcement and public safety in general,” said Commission Chairman Jim Baushke at a recent meeting.

Douglas County's old system, which was installed in 1988, is no longer supported by the vendor due to its age. It can't be connected to new technologies, including live scan fingerprint or crossroads traffic citation programs and is not designed to be a records or prosecution system.

The current system does not give alerts when suspects have a history of violence, which can prove hazardous for Douglas County's deputies. The time staff spends doing redundant data entry could be decreased dramatically with a new system.

“Training new employees is difficult,” said Gwen Brandenburg, representative from Galena Group Consulting Inc. “There are no drop-down menus and there's a lot to memorize when using the current system.”

There is also no inmate tracking module in the current jail system, Brandenburg said.

Incoming District Attorney Mark Jackson said the new system will increase productivity and efficiency as well as provide the information needed to write grants. Over the next few years, it should pay for itself.

Costs for this Spillman Technologies system totals $798,750. The New Dawn Technologies system, to be used by the District Attorney's office, costs another $149,740. System hardware will cost $80,000 and consultants Galena Group Inc. will manage the implementation of both software packages for another $68,000.

Annual maintenance costs, which include support personnel and maintenance for both the New Dawn and Spillman technologies, will total $184,000, according to information supplied by Galena Group.

Initial costs for the system will be covered in part by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, $250,000 from drug forfeiture funds. Another $300,000 will come from project-dedicated revenues set aside each year for capital projects and the balance, almost $550,000, will come from the equipment replacement fund.