Piatt County Sheriff David Hunt is eyeing the purchase of a new records management system that would update various portions of the department’s reporting system, some of which are currently in their third decade of operation.
Hunt told the county building and grounds committee that the report generating software dates back some 30 years.
“It is very, very, antiquated,” he said, so Hunt is researching three companies for new software that would take better advantage of modern technology, possibly including the capability of scanning information directly from drivers licenses.
Costs are not known, but Hunt said one estimate was for $151,000. He hopes the possibility of sharing a system with neighboring DeWitt County would reduce the cost.
The newer RMS would help reduce the number of times the same information is entered into the law enforcement office’s database.
“We do a lot of duplication of work of what the dispatch does, from when the officer writes the report to when the jail actually puts it in. Everyone is always plugging in information, and it’s the same information,” said Hunt.
He noted the new system would offer efficiency when it comes to data entry.
“With these other records management systems, we wouldn’t have to do that,” said the sheriff. “If our officers have contact with someone on the street, the dispatcher can plug in information and that information goes straight to the officer’s report that he is going to generate, and that information can be shared with DeWitt County.”
DeWitt and Piatt Counties currently serve as backups to each other when it comes to providing emergency dispatching services.
County technology consultant Scott Davis said there will also be an added cost to upgrade the bandwidth of the fiber data connection between the two counties.
“We do have a fiber link between the two counties, but currently it is only sized for the radio portion of that. It can be increased, but as with everything there is a cost to do that,” commented Davis. “You would have to have it for this kind of traffic.”
Hunt hopes to get a new RMS system into the county’s 2020 budget. It will likely go through the internet committee before coming before the county board later this year. He said there may be funding help from the county 9-1-1 board, and Hunt is pursuing a possible grant from the Exelon nuclear power plant in Clinton.
Davis added that Ford County recently installed a system from Spillman Technologies, one of the three currently being considered for Piatt County. The other two are Computer Information Systems, and Zuercher Technologies, which last year was part of a four-company merger that created CentralSquare Technologies.
Hunt noted that the closing of the courthouse due to cold weather on Jan. 30 was “not easy,” saying that it needed to be approved by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Court proceedings did not need to be rescheduled since there are typically no hearings in Piatt County on Wednesdays.
The committee also:
–heard from Hunt that a battery backup system that runs the doors and cameras at the jail needs to be addressed. Currently the systems still need to reboot even after the backup becomes active;
–discussed removal of a dead tree on the back side of the nursing home. The tree was slated for removal last year but the firm hired could not complete it due to a family emergency. Maintenance Supervisor Doug Winder was authorized to pursue it again. A second tree may also be removed, but it will prove more difficult since it is near the building and not as accessible;
–was told by Hunt that voting machines have been moved from the former sheriff’s office on the second floor of the courthouse to the Piatt County Office Building. The empty courthouse office is being cleaned up, including the removal of wallpaper and a fresh coat of paint; and
–heard from Piatt County Mental Health Center Director Tony Kirkman that a remodel of a conference room is complete, and that it will be open to use by other agencies and community groups.