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Hall Sheriff's Office hopes to replace 1980s-era records system
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Victoria Leathers, a records clerk at the Hall County Sheriff's Office, organizes and files incident reports March 8, 2018, from the previous year in Gainesville. - photo by David Barnes

Having to write something three times is tedious

Having to write something three times is tedious

Having to write something three times is tedious.

But that’s been the way of the world for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, often entering information two or three times between the officer and the records management division.

Officials hope that will soon come to an end with a new records management system and jail management system by Superion, which will cost the county more than $3 million. Officials with the Sheriff’s Office said they hope to fully implement the system in November.

“This move has been long overdue. For our department and personnel to have performed as well as they have through the years, given the lack of modern technology available to them, speaks volumes,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “The new system will not only bring our agency into the modern law enforcement era, but it should also make us a more efficient, more effective agency, able to better serve our community.”

Though it’s had several re-writes to the system over the years, the Sheriff’s Office’s current records management system is 30 years old. 

In the records division, one employee handles roughly 50 citations per day, typing information into the Comprehensive Justice Information System. The citations are then transferred to the courthouse, where they do the same process.

“There’s a lot of touching the documents two and three times, from the officer to us to the court,” said Lt. Stephanie Gilbert, who oversees the records division.

Walking into the records division, one of the first sights is a system of rolling bookshelves holding paper records.

“If we kept going the way we’re going, this right here would grow,” Capt. Sean McCusker said of the paper records. “We’re trying to shrink our footprint instead of grow it.

With the new system, all deputies will have in-car computer terminals linked to the system, giving the officer access to warrant information, previous calls to a certain location and more.

“They won’t have to rely on a dispatcher to have that information relayed to them over the radio,” Gilbert said.

Under the new system, information put in from dispatch or the officer typing in the report will be automatically entered into the citation, which can be printed from a patrol car and simultaneously put into the records management system.

“They’ll be doing a lot of secondary checks to make sure stuff is right. However, the information will already be in the records management system. Right now, we duplicate a lot of work just doing this handwritten paperwork,” McCusker said.

The property and evidence department will now have a station where officers can enter information for the evidence bags that will also be connected to the records management system and the officers’ reports, Gilbert said.

“They’re not having to type or write something three times,” she said.

A module will allow Hall County residents to report crimes that don’t involve immediate officer intervention, such as a missing cellphone, where a deputy can follow up later.

When taking a suspect to jail, the new jail management system will allow an officer to “pre-book,” sending information straight to the jail about the incoming person. For example, an officer can send all the information on a person to the jail while waiting on a tow-truck for a person suspected of DUI.

“When they get to the jail, all they have to do is drop off that suspect there, and (the officer) won’t have to spend an hour there doing his paperwork anymore. It’s going to get him back on the road in a timely manner,” Gilbert said.

Other agencies including Gainesville Police and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office use the same management system, which will let the departments directly share information on crimes across jurisdictions. 

“If (suspects) have been doing it (on Dawsonville Highway) and then going right across the line and doing the same thing, we could start linking maybe a car description or a person with a hat or whatever. We can start looking at that, whereas right now we don’t have that luxury,” Gilbert said

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