Juneau County Sheriff’s Department begins using new software

By Jake Ekdahl | Juneau County Star-Times

Law Enforcement agencies in Juneau County may find coordination easier in the near future. The Juneau County Sheriff’s Department has chosen to adopt Spillman Technologies software as their new records-keeping program.

With the Sheriff’s Office making the transition, other law enforcement agencies in Juneau County are considering following suit. The Mauston, New Lisbon and Elroy Police Departments are all reported to be considering switching to Spillman.

Spillman is estimated to have a presence in 25 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

At the Fire and Police Commission meeting on Nov. 29, Mauston Police Chief Mike Zilisch spoke on the benefits of switching to Spillman.

“Our data pool is astronomically increased and so is everybody else’s because now we’re sharing all the data,” Zilisch said,“We’d be able to look at not only New Lisbon’s reports, Elroy’s (and) the County’s, but we’d also be able to look at Adams, and Sauk, and Columbia because this whole region is jumping to Spillman.”

“It’s much more powerful than the current software that we have,” Zilisch said.

Initially, Spillman would cost the Mauston Police Department more than their current software. But over, time the cost would be similar. “$12,000 is what our original total would be,” Zilisch said. But “subsequent years are the normal (about) $6,000 that we are spending.”

The Mauston Finance Committee has voiced support for the purchase.

There are potential additional costs associated with the transition to Spillman, but those have not been decided on yet. For a fee, Spillman will migrate existing police data. “All the municipalities are spending around $10,000 to take all their old data and convert it into Spillman data,” Zilisch said. Zilisch said he has spoken with Mauston City Administrator Nathan Thiel about a potential data conversion, and Thiel feels that it is a benefit worth the cost.

The ability to track the GPS location of law enforcement vehicles in real time is a feature Zilisch said would be beneficial to the department.

“Now I could actually put in the exact time and put in CAD and I could look at exactly what (an officer’s) GPS coordinates was,” Zilisch said. “So if they just sat at the police department and slept, not only would we know that, but we could see that their car never moved.”

At the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department, the transition to Spillman has already been decided.

“It’s the entire records system for the Sheriff’s Office,” Dispatch Supervisor Michelle Lobenstein said. “So it includes our records management, it includes our CAD for dispatch, it includes all of our jail records, evidence, basically everything we do records-wise in the Sheriff’s Department.”

“Previously we were using Vision CAD, and Inform RMS through TriTech,” Lobenstein said. “They’re three different programs, but they do work together.”

Because of the ability to seamlessly share information, Spillman software will be more effective as more local law enforcement agencies choose to adopt it.

“It’s something we wanted to encourage them to do,” Sheriff’s Office Manager Elizabeth Geesaman said “Because the more records you have, the more information you have, the more effective we are.”

The server will be housed in Juneau County, with the Sheriff’s Office as the host. Municipal police departments will be connected to that server. We’ll share all of our records with all of the police departments that come onboard,” Lobenstein said.

Gessaman believes Spillman will make the whole department more efficient.

“Right now we have an issue where the computer aided dispatch doesn’t communicate well with our records management system,” Geesaman said. “Our new system with Spillman is a seamless process of information being transferred over, whereas with our current stuff, information really isn’t transferred over like that.”

Spillman’s ability to share information between agencies will make each agency better informed.

“Each municipality is going to jump on board,” Zilisch said. “It really allows us to be much more powerful while doing investigations.”

Law enforcement agencies in Adams, and Sauk, and Columbia counties have already adopted Spillman, and more are expected to follow.

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