January 5, 2006

Computer Grant Helping Sheriff’s Department Wade Through Paperwork

A recent grant from the Division of Homeland Security will be helping the Scotland County Sheriff’s Department keep more officers on the streets protecting the community. The $33,000 award is not paying for additional officers. Instead, the money was designated for the purchase of a new computer system.

In just over one month in service, the new automated reporting system has paid immediate dividends. The new programming has streamlined the process of filing reports, logging evidence and much, much more, freeing officers from underneath the mounds of paperwork and getting them back into service more quickly.

The department has added five new work stations complete with an office-wide server. While the hardware is a nice improvement, it is the software that has the office raving about Professional Computer Solutions, Inc. of Ottumwa, IA. The company’s law enforcement program has been modified to meet the specific needs of the local sheriff’s department.

Not only can officers now log cases on their computer, from start to finish, but they could do so with unbelievable ease as the database maintains master name lists, for complaintants, suspects and everything in between.

“Basically the program keeps track of all the information we have ever entered into the system,” said Sheriff Wayne Winn. “That saves us a lot of time since we don’t have to look up information from old files. The computer does it for us.”

The program also offers a searchable database as well as state and federal databases for statutes and criminal charges. The computer maintains an evidence log, lab receipts and an office equipment inventory.

The dispatcher log is maintained on the system which also tracks vehicle maintenance and fuel purchases for budgetary measures.

“I can’t tell you how much this is going to help us,” stated sheriff Winn. “It is so user friendly, we have had no trouble getting everyone quickly up to speed on using the new computers. For the officers, it is so nice because we have everything in one place, and have access to all of the information we need to do our jobs, not to mention the time savings it will mean for us.”

The software package is fairly established in Iowa, where it was created. However, the Scotland County Sheriff’s Department is the first office in Missouri to take advantage of the program. A few minor adjustments have been made to the system to make it a smooth transfer, particularly involving law differences between the two states.

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