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Gainesville police plan to go high-tech

New records management system to replace ‘antiquated’ method

POSTED: January 3, 2014 12:12 a.m.

There are several steps an incident report must go through in the Gainesville Police Department before being filed.

“(Patrol officers) have the forms that we utilize saved on their computers in their cars so they can at least type them there,” said Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, spokesman for the department. “Then unfortunately they have to come back to the department, they have to print them out after saving to a jump drive or something similar to that, and then it goes from there (for approval from a supervisor).”

And if an officer doesn’t have a computer in his vehicle?

“It’s old-fashioned handwriting,” Holbrook said.

To bring the department more up to date, Police Chief Brian Kelly has asked City Council to approve a new records management system to replace the multiple methods used to file and track reports.

“The least amount of time we can do actually sitting and having to handwrite reports, that’s going to give our officers, our employees more time to be proactive out in the community,” Kelly said. “(They can) be in more programs, more traffic patrols.” 

To file reports, officers can make multiple trips to the department on Queen City Parkway during a patrol, taking up to 15-20 minutes each time. Extra time is added if they have to handwrite; more than half of the city’s patrol cars are outfitted with laptops, but some aren’t. Those will be provided with laptops before the new system goes live.

The proposed new software is through SunGard Public Sector. Initial installation and service will cost $399,320. Every additional year will cost $45,032, which covers maintenance and upgrade fees. The initial cost is funded through the department’s capital improvements fund, and the annual upkeep fee will come from the operational budget.

In addition to streamlining the filing process, it will allow officers in the field to get faster updates about when and where crime is occurring.

What happens now is an officer just beginning a shift can pull information from eight to 12 hours prior, but not something that may have happened one or two hours before.

To combat that, incident reports are printed out and a commander reads them over the radio during shift changes. This new system would eliminate that need as all information would update in the officer’s computer.

Councilman George Wangemann likened the program to what New York City has done to lower major crime rates.

“It seems in a system like this, what you’re talking about, it will make the system more efficient and you’ll be able to tie in resources to where they’re needed the most,” he said. “In business and government, time is money and the bottom line is I think there’s going to be money saved as a result from this.”

The new program should also benefit the community.

Holbrook provided the example of an accident report, which takes three to five days to receive. The new program will let a person pull the report more quickly, meaning the insurance company will get it sooner.

If the system is approved by council members, it will take up to six months for installation and training. Kelly is hopeful for a July start date to coincide with the city’s fiscal year. 

City Council members will vote on the issue at the Tuesday meeting, at 5:30 p.m. in the Gainesville Justice Center, 701 Queen City Parkway.


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