Eau Claire County Board OKs $1.45M pact with city

 

Council vote needed to buy software

By Andrew Dowd

Eau Claire County approved its share of a joint contract for a new $1.45 million law enforcement computer system that the Eau Claire City Council will have the deciding vote on next week.

The County Board voted 28-0 Tuesday night on the contract requiring it to pay 42 percent of the costs to buy new software and hardware that will be used by county sheriff’s deputies and city police officers.

“They are really, really looking forward to having new software to deal with,” Supervisor Kathleen Clark said, noting that she’d spoken to several sergeants eager for the upgrade.

The contract switches from a nearly 15-year-old computer system from vendor SunGard to a new one from Spillman Technologies, which is widely used in Wisconsin.

Frank Draxler, purchasing director for the city and county, said Spillman’s software is used in 22 Wisconsin counties by 110 law enforcement agencies.

The search for a new system began about a year ago and came down to two finalists: Spillman and SunGard.

A team that evaluated different software opted for Spillman’s system because of features it has to make record keeping more efficient, easier for officers to search and even help analyze criminal trends.

“Overall it’s going to improve not only them filling out the forms, but also the use of it,” Draxler said. “It’s going to help law enforcement.”

A memo from the city Police Department estimated that patrol officers spent about 10,000 hours last year writing reports. Features in the new software are expected to cut that by about 25 percent, the memo stated.

Undersheriff Dan Bresina didn’t have an estimate of hours the new software would save county deputies, but he said it will cut time currently spent on duplicating records.

Of the remaining costs to buy the system, the city would pay 42 percent and the 911 communications center would be responsible for the last 16 percent, under the contract awaiting City Council approval.

The software will be on computer servers at City Hall, but the county is poised to pay more in upkeep costs.

Ongoing support costs expected at $157,800 annually would be paid 70 percent by the county and 30 percent by the city, according to the proposed contract.

The contract lasts for an initial 10 years, followed by five automatic one-year renewals.

It is expected to take about one year for the new system to go live.

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