Software added to arsenal

By Cindy Martinez Rhodes

The newest addition to the Colton Police Department's crime fighting team is a mouse.

Armed with a computer system on the cutting edge of law enforcement, a few clicks of a mouse soon will thrust the department's crime fighting into the 21st century.

Spillman Technologies, which specializes in public safety computer systems, has created the program for Colton. The system, with a price tag just over $700,000, was paid for with federal asset forfeiture money, Police Chief Bob Miller said.

The new system will condense the pedestrian jobs of filing citations and organizing forms and will aid officers with real-time data, said Sgt. Lou Gamache, who headed up the team that recommended the system.

It includes an automated vehicle locator, which will be displayed on a map of the city. Dispatchers can call it up at any time, locate a police vehicle by global satellite positioning and dispatch the closest vehicle to a call, Gamache said.

“We needed a change in how we do business here,” Miller said. “We grew so much that we needed our own system. This was the perfect time to implement this — especially with a budget crisis, we have to work more efficiently.”

Colton and Redlands are the first in San Bernardino County to use the state-of-the-art system, Colton Lt. Bill Burrows said. Riverside's police and fire departments have used a similar system for five years.

Like many companies, Colton's former method was a paper-based filing system — and things were sometimes misplaced or filed improperly. For an agency that makes life-or-death decisions based on data, the new system better serves the community, Miller said.

“It allows us to reduce crime and make our citizens feel safer,” Gamache said. “We can also get a better handle on our data and have it at our fingertips when officers need it. Officers will be able to accomplish more in the field, without the need to return to the station to complete routine report processes.”

“Anything we can do to facilitate our officers and improve work processes will greatly benefit our community.”