Sheriff wants new computer system

By Bobbye Pyke

JUNEAU | Dodge County may soon replace the computer system for the Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Dale Schmidt spoke to members of the information technology committee Tuesday about possible replacements to the current New World Software.

New World, the law enforcement management software that Dodge County purchased and began installing in the summer of 2013, replaced a system that had been used since 2000.

Complaints about the software began before the software was fully implemented. According to Schmidt one of the frustrations is that many of the updates have caused additional problems.

A service pack installed in August was expected to help solve some of the county’s outstanding issues with the New World software.

Ruth Otto, Dodge County’s Director of IT said, “We expected this pack to be the final fix and it was not. It actually broke some things.”

Schmidt said moving forward, his goals are to have a county wide records management system.

“That was our initial goal when we went to New World in the first place,” Schmidt said. “We don’t have that fully integrated as it should be and a lot of that is as a result of the issues we have been facing with New World.”

Schmidt said his department needs a “functional, stable system” with strong operational efficiency that is user friendly and provides adequate IT support while still providing a minimal cost of time and money to the county.

To achieve these goals, the county issued a request for proposals for a new system. Three proposals were received from New World, Pro-Phoenix, and Spillman. Each vendor presented a demonstration and various members of the Law enforcement committee, IT committee and IT department conducted site visits.

Schmidt said New World proposed a upgrade to its current system, which would cost $377,863. Software for records management and corrections has not been fully developed by New World, but Schmidt estimated that when it became available, it would cost approximately $800,000 for both pieces.

Schmidt said the total estimated cost for an eventual update of New World would be $1.2 million with a $105,623 annual maintenance fee.

Schmidt said the costs of continuing with New World extend beyond the financial saying that the county would still struggle with support and stability. He added that the cost to clean up the data conversion is believed to be an extra expense to Dodge County and that the time wasted by Dodge County staff dealing with support issues with continue adding to a lack of productivity.

Pro-Phoenix’s proposal included computer-aided dispatch, correction and records management software for $1.07 million. Schmidt said that he found numerous short comings with the system that would not make it advantageous to switch from New World saying, “We did not see this as a viable option for us.”

However, Schmidt believed the proposal from Spillman was far more enticing. Their proposal also included a software which has computer-aided dispatch, corrections and records management at a cost of $1.14 million. Schmidt said Spillman would waive its annual maintenance fee for the first year and the second year maintenance costs are expected to be $122,994, though he is still negotiating.

“This was by far the best demonstration,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt added that their site visits took them to Sheboygan, Green Lake, Waukesha and Dane counties where they found that all were very happy with the product, indicated it was easy to use, and that there was a very minimal need for technical support.

Schmidt said the committee unanimously agreed that Spillman was the best choice moving forward. He said Spillman has expressed a desire to work out an agreement with Dodge County to minimize costs and work with the budget process.

Schmidt added that Spillman would like to see a contract signed by the end of the year. The initial payment would be $150,000 in October 2016 with the second and third payments of $454,643 occuring in January 2017 and 2018. Schmidt said there would be no software costs for local police departments in Dodge County to join the Spillman system and the anticipated go-live date would be Jan. 1, 2018.

He added that one of the benefits to this software is that Dodge County would own it after implementation in 2018.

“It is not an individual computer license, it is a site license,” he said. There would be no extra costs associated with adding additional personnel or machines.

Schmidt said he hopes to present a proposal to switch to Spillman to the committee in October and then the question could appear before the county board in November.

This means that the new software will not appear before the board prior to the passing of the county budget.

Schmidt said, “We are confident that the money is there for 2016.”

Though no vote was taken, members of the IT committee seemed interested in moving to Spillman.

Committee Chair Donna Maly said, “We learned a lot from New World. We can walk away and look smarter.”

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