Equipment upgrade will provide new capabilities

Three local law enforcement agencies are one step closer to receiving significant technological upgrades.

The Cullman County Commission recently accepted a bid to purchase public safety software for the county’s three law enforcement agencies from Spillman Technologies.

According to Charlotte Slatton, the Cullman County Commission clerk, the total cost of the project is $662,289 and it will be paid for through a Byrne-Jag grant.

While presenting a bid comparison to the Cullman County Commission, Max Bartlett, chief deputy  for the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, said the goals for this project are to enable the Cullman Police Department, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office and the Hanceville Police Department with the capability to provide a true information sharing and back-up system that can be relied upon in case of a disaster — like the one the area encountered during the April 27 tornado outbreak.

“In the event of a major disaster or terminal failure at either agency we would have the capability to switch over to the other agency’s server in order to carry on uninterrupted service to our officers and emergency responders,” Bartlett said in his presentation.

Based on numbers provided by Slatton, the total cost for the software is $436,728, while $217,161 in professional services and $8,400 in hardware were included in the bid.

Once the upgrades have been made, every patrol vehicle in the county will be equipped with driver’s license card readers. The units will also be able to access and share case information with other law enforcement agencies state and nationwide.

The three agencies will also receive bar coding software, along with four weeks of on-site training and support from Spillman.

Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey called the upgrades “powerful.”

“This new software is a significant upgrade for our department,” Rainey said. “It should change the way we’re able to do our jobs for the better.”

One aspect of the Spillman-Unlimted software that Rainey raved about was the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology.

With AVL technology, the three local law enforcement agencies will be able to track the location of fleet units in real time through Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers.

“With this system, our dispatchers will be able to see where all of our patrol vehicles are on a map,” Rainey said. “So when the dispatchers receive a call, they will be able to see what patrol vehicle is closest to the scene and dispatch units accordingly.”

Premise, Inc. and Diversified Computer Systems actually provided the lowest bid. But after careful research, officials from the three agencies decided that the Spillman-Unlimited software would better suit their needs.