SIDNEY — Shelby County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers are preparing to work from a new computer aided dispatch (CAD) system.
According to Lt. Tim Bender, who was standing in for Sheriff John Lenhart Tuesday morning, said the new CAD will take four separate software programs — dispatch, jail, road deputies and operations — and combine it into one program. Instead of accessing four different software programs, the dispatchers will be able to stay in one program for each of the functions.
Shelby County Commissioners approved the project in October 2019, said Bender. Because of COVID-19, the process of developing and implementing the new software was delayed. The project has been designed by Essential Squares, a Zuercher Technology company, which is located in South Carolina. The company is internationally known for creating software programs for law enforcement.
The design team also include Shelby County Sheriff’s Office representatives from each division which will use the new software everyday, said Bender.
“They did a great job,” said Bender. “At this point, I;m asking them questions. We also had great communication with the county’s IT staff.”
The Shelby County Engineer’s Office has done mapping of the entire county, which includes a high resolution look at roads, buildings, response area and mobile routing. If there’s a detour, it can be entered into the software so deputies are aware of road conditions.
“When we get our first snow or have a weather event, we can document it and upload in the map software so we can see where those items are,” said Bender.
Training on the new software began Tuesday, said Bender. The software will go live Nov 16.
“This software will allow us to have one point of access,” said Bender. “We can check criminal activity and their contact instead of logging into three different software programs.”
When a call comes into dispatch, said Bender, the response time of deputies will be enhanced through the new software programs.
“There are special response cards for specific locations throughout the county,” said Bender. “There are cards for manufacturers, public venues and other sites. Each one can be flagged with information for the officer’s safety.
“We’ll keep adding to the existing cards and add new cards as new businesses or something else s built,” said Bender.
The new software system, said Bender, allows dispatch to send information directly to the deputies cruiser and mobile phone.
“A deputy at the scene can send photos and narrative from his phone to dispatch,” said Bender. The deputy can then review the response to his text and see the results of his request.”
If the deputy is requesting information about a specific person, he will receive the search record on his phone. the information will include everyone the suspect or person has had contact with.
“If the deputy is searching for ‘John Smith,’ then he’ll receive a list of every ‘John Smith’ and his contacts and aliases. If ‘John Smith’ has been in jail, they’ll receive booking information, time in jail and all addresses associated with him.”
the requests are not only for criminals said Bender. Deputies can send in photos of stolen merchandise and receive information aback about who reported it stolen and their contact information.
Bender said dispatch will also have the ability to send a text to the person who has called 911 and can’t give a specific location of where they are.
“Dispatch will send a text to the cellphone. When the person opens the text, there will be a link for them to click. The link will send exact information back to dispatch on where the person is located.
“CAD will extend our capability of locating a victim quickly,: he said. “The texting aspect is an important feature of the new system.”
Streamlining the operations into one combined solution for the department — dispatch, jail, road deputies and operations — will allow reports to be run more efficiently, he said.
And while Lenhart was attending a sheriff’s meeting, he shared his thoughts about the rise in COVID-19 cases in the county.
“I encourage people to watch what they are doing,” said Lenhart. “Be responsible for yourself and for others.”
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.