Sheriffs Office gets ‘smart’ computer system

Training under way after department installs essential upgrade
By Joe Johnson

HANFORD — Groundwork is being laid this week for the new computer-aided dispatch system that will bring the Kings County Sheriff’s Office into the modern age.

Officials say this software — with a tentative go-live date in November — will help put more deputies out on the street.

“The citizens may not notice major differences,” Sheriff Dave Robinson said previously, “but we’re optimistic that this will help us keep the county safe.”

Administrators will receive training through next week to learn how the system functions. Then, in September, most employees will get their first hands-on experience.

Right now, the Sheriff’s Office uses a text-based, green-screen DOS interface that’s incompatible with Windows. Assistant Sheriff Dave Putnam says it’s been difficult for new deputies to adapt to the ancient parser, having grown up using simple, modern interfaces.

A previous effort to upgrade the county’s system went bust in 2008 after signing contracts with SMART Public Safety Software, Inc. Almost every Kings County law enforcement agency joined together to use this system under the promise that it would allow them to share records and work better together.

Instead, the company took $500,000 of the county’s money, delivered a half-broken product, then went bankrupt and disappeared under a new corporate identity.

In the aftermath, the Lemoore and Hanford police departments were stuck using the unfinished software, while other agencies switched back to their archaic systems.

SMART met its end in 2012, when the area police departments joined together to adopt the RIMS software by Sun Ridge Systems.

But the Sheriff’s Office declined to follow them, preferring to find a service that would accomodate running the Kings County Jail and dispatching for the Avenal Police Department.

They met their match with Spillman Technologies, Inc., a Utah-based firm that provides systems for more than 1,000 agencies across the country.

Robinson said the switch will cost them only $10,000 a year more than they were already paying to maintain the old system.

The Kings County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in late 2012 to adopt the platform. Work has been under way ever since to bring the program online.

“We’re very excited,” said Putnam. “This system will allow us to be more efficient and helps us better serve the people here in Kings County.”

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