PD looks to update vital reporting software

By Valerie Bustamante | Seguin Gazette

The Seguin Police Department, in the next year or so, will have the opportunity to use a new software that will make some of its day-to-day duties more efficient.

During a regular meeting Tuesday, the city council approved the purchase for the Spillman Technologies Records Management, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and mobile software modules — motioned by District 2 councilwoman Jeannette “Jett” Crabb from District 2 and seconded by District 8 councilman Mark Herbold.

Texas House Bill 11 now requires all law enforcement in Texas to use the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) by 2019 for reporting crime data, Seguin Chief of Police Kevin Kelso said.

“Right now our crime data is reported in a Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) format and legislature is requiring it to be NIBRS format,” he said.

However, the software the department currently uses does not have the capabilities to work with the NIBRS format, Kelso said. Since 2010, the department has used Criminal Research, Information Management and Evaluation System (CRIMES), administered by Sam Houston State University, to manage their records and their computer aided-dispatch system.

CRIMES allows for the department to dispatch first responder units and to gather any crime or fire data.

Additionally, it uses UCR and cannot “catalog and collect crime data and statistical analysis through NIBRS,” the department said.

There is also no anticipation that CRIMES will be upgraded to meet the standards of NIBRS, Kelso said.

“Our software is very antiquated and it’s pretty much put together by an excel spreadsheet,” Kelso said. “So, we were looking for other software that would allow us to report in NIBRS, but we’re also looking for software that allows us to move forward in our ability to police.”

CRIMES doesn’t allow for the responders to do predictive policing or crime data analysis, he said.

“We can’t really gather information without assuming someone’s entire day to figure out crime trends and, with the system we have now, the data is very difficult to extract,” he said. “Then the reliability of that data isn’t always the greatest.”

After speaking with neighboring departments, Seguin PD found that the Spillman Technologies software would be the most effective.

“They all use the software that we’re looking at and they’re all pretty happy with it,” Kelso said. “What made this attractive was that New Braunfels had the software we currently have before they moved to Spillman. They have found, with Spillman, it makes the job easier and more effective so we can do our job much more efficiently.”

Through the new software, Seguin PD will have the ability to connect to the other neighboring law enforcement agencies in “real time.”

“With this software we’ll be able to access reports from places such as New Braunfels, Live Oak and Pflugerville,” he said. “If we can get on board and start working with this software, we can have access to each other’s information, because we all deal with the same crooks. It’s much more efficient on our part and will allow us to be more proactive in our policing efforts.”

The projected cost for the software is $650,984, but to ease the financial burden the department obtained some grants.

“We will continue in the coming years to try to locate more grants and reapply for the ones we were already awarded,” Kelso said. “There are grants specifically for moving from an UCR to a NIBRS reporting system. We have exceeded just a little over $100,000 in grants so far this year. We’ll reapply in 2018 in hopes of being awarded another grant. We’re looking to try to minimize the impact on the general funds as much as possible by using grants.”

Spillman does have financing opportunities, which includes a possible three-year or five-year financing option, but it’s not certain which one the department will move forward with at the moment, Kelso said.

The department needs to be live with NIBRS reporting by January 2019, Kelso said.

“The projected completion date … Spillman expects it to take 12 months. So, we’re hoping around this time next year that we’ll be fully operational. We’ll be moving that direction the whole time. There will be constant movement forward, but it’ll be completely live and all our employees will be trained in 12 to 15 months.”

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