System will give police boost

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Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle pointed Tuesday to a large LCD screen hanging from a wall inside the sheriff's office's 911 center and bragged on his newest weapon to fight crime: a computer system.

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Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle points out features of the new computer system, OSSI/Sunguard, at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office in Appling.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle points out features of the new computer system, OSSI/Sunguard, at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office in Appling.

"You see those dots there? Those are where all of our patrol cars are at in real time," Sheriff Whittle said.

The nearly $1 million OSSI/Sunguard computer system might prove to be a lifesaver, the sheriff said. It will decrease response times, curtail expenses, add accountability and improve training, he said.

"The different colors on the map represent beats, but a deputy may be way on the other side of their beat from where something is happening," Sheriff Whittle said. "A dispatcher can now see if someone else is closer and get them over there."

Deputies trained this week on how to use the new system. Each officer will get a laptop equipped with a GPS tracker to take with them in their police cruisers.

In the past, dispatchers sent out radio calls to deputies to find out who was near an incident location. Now that dispatchers can see who is closer, the need for time-consuming radio chatter is eliminated, Sheriff Whittle said.

Though it's too early to say how much faster deputies will respond to an incident -- the new system went live Nov. 27 -- Sheriff Whittle believes it could shave as much as two minutes off average response times.

"Two minutes could mean the difference between life and death," he said. "It could mean the difference between catching a bad guy, or letting him get away."

Each sheriff's office computer, including laptops, is now tied into a central database. Patrolmen can now file reports from the field, and each sheriff's office employee will be able to more easily find data from previous incidents.

The laptops also give deputies access to the National Crime Information Center and the Georgia Crime Information Center.

"Before they (deputies) ever even pull somebody over, they can type in the (vehicle license) tag number and get that person's information," Sheriff Whittle said. "A worst-case scenario would be that they could find out that person is wanted for murder and can call in for help before they even get out of the car."

The computer system also will add accountability for 911 dispatchers, said sheriff's Lt. Tina Stacy, of the Communications Patrol Division.

Each facet of a call to the sheriff's office is now time-stamped, from when the call is received to when a report is filed and the call is ended.

"Before, we had no way of measuring how long certain calls should take," Lt. Stacy said. "I didn't know if a domestic call took one minute or five. This system allows us to review how long each of those calls take and averages them for us. If someone is taking 90 seconds on a call that averages 60, we can go back and find out why."

Before Sunguard, the sheriff's office used a computer system introduced in 1992. It was slow and difficult to learn for new employees used to modern software, Lt. Stacy said.

"If you can use Microsoft Windows, like most kids in middle school can, you can use this system," she said. "Where it would take us a year to train a new dispatcher, we can train them on this system in three to six months."

Eventually, Sheriff Whittle said, he wants to purchase handheld devices similar to patrolmen laptops for the bike patrol, and possibly introduce a component that would allow the public to access police reports from the Internet, but those are long-term goals.

"It really is an incredible system," Sheriff Whittle said. "It's going make our jobs of serving the public a lot easier."

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

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As It Is
2
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As It Is 12/12/07 - 03:24 am
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Excellent system and

Excellent system and accountability. This will certainly help dispatchers to send the closest deputy without hesitation or additional thought. If a Deputy needs help or assistance, dispatch will know exactly where to send them. A very wise investment and use of taxpayers money that will provide addiditonal assistance to the Sheriff's Office and to the public.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 12/12/07 - 04:41 am
0
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Won't see that in Richmond

Won't see that in Richmond County. It makes sense and we know that Richmond County doesn't use or have that...

guess who
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guess who 12/12/07 - 07:16 am
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check your information we

check your information we had
them over a year now.sike lol

guess who
0
Points
guess who 12/12/07 - 07:21 am
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rich all ready have the

rich all ready have the sys,you wrong

D_DoDirty
0
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D_DoDirty 12/12/07 - 07:26 am
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Tax payers already have been

Tax payers already have been spending that money on the system for the last 5 years. In the military the system is known as FBCB2 (Force XXI Brigade Command and Below). And its taught at Gordon at a few of the courses.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 12/12/07 - 09:31 am
0
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Let's see, half the CC

Let's see, half the CC "crusiers" are at the homes of policeman. The other half would be at whatever "auto accident" is taking place in the county. Since they all give 150%, the other half are at various filling stations "scratching lotto tickets" or at "eateries".

DEVGRU
0
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DEVGRU 12/12/07 - 09:35 am
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0
I think we can guess who the

I think we can guess who the criminal is on this post.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 12/12/07 - 09:37 am
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While on the subject of CC

While on the subject of CC innovations for the benefit of CC taxpayers. Take the "online burning permit". It is a joke. If you call about someone burning, they cannot tell you if that person has permit or not. Neither the fire dept. or the Forestry Service appear to have looked at "permits". What are they for anyway. Then they ask are you sure you want to do something about the burning and smoke. Do you really want us to come to the scene. It is every single day.

deekster
24
Points
deekster 12/12/07 - 09:39 am
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And the "311" non emergency

And the "311" non emergency number. Called to report a blanket of smoke at night. I could not tell if it was a neighbors house or trash? I was transfered to three different people and finally back to the "911" emergency operator.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 12/12/07 - 09:40 am
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Thank you GUESS Who. There

Thank you GUESS Who. There will alway be at least one clown that will take a pot shot at RCSD, like Augusta Voter.

iletuknow
7
Points
iletuknow 12/12/07 - 10:51 am
0
0
CC has all the indications of

CC has all the indications of a tax payers nightmare.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 12/12/07 - 11:11 am
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Richmond County dispatchers

Richmond County dispatchers are dangerous. Mr. Wasson, when it comes to pass that a deputy is the vicitms of your dispatchers you will see the words " negligent retention " on a blue piece of paper.

not fooled by ccso
0
Points
not fooled by ccso 12/12/07 - 11:17 am
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tina and clay can blow smoke

tina and clay can blow smoke up everyones behind but those of us that know --KNOW. ccso is a JOKE. it is so short-handed in 911 road patrol officers are getting paid OVERTIME to fill in on shift. yet there are two training officers that won't cover a shift. makes sense to me, pay a deputy prolly 20 or more an hour to cover or the trainers maybe closer to 15 or so an hour to cover the floor. that's only the tip of the iceberg.

PTHS2
0
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PTHS2 12/12/07 - 12:14 pm
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This is is a serious question

This is is a serious question - not intended as a dig or a rant. How does an LEO safely type in a plate number or other information while driving, especially trailing a suspect? We've all seen the consequences of attempts to text message while driving. And thanks to the public security personnel for their service.

change display name
0
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change display name 12/12/07 - 01:14 pm
0
0
Sounds to me like "not

Sounds to me like "not fooled" is a disgruntled employee. If CCSO is such a joke, go to RCSD. The pay and benefits seem to be so much better. You're probably the dispatcher who is so rude. PHTS--you can't safely type and drive--good point.

BOBO
0
Points
BOBO 12/12/07 - 04:57 pm
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0
ok, this is about public

ok, this is about public safety not public complaints. Look at the real impact that will happen and the lives saved!

TCB22
598
Points
TCB22 12/12/07 - 05:37 pm
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Uh, Deekster. Let me get

Uh, Deekster. Let me get this straight. You are a patrol deputy for CCSO and you thought somebody's house was on fire but you called 311 instead of 911? Just so you know, 911 is for fire, police and ambulance. You may want to jot that down for future reference.

ccso employee
0
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ccso employee 12/12/07 - 08:28 pm
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i personally believe that the

i personally believe that the CCSO is doing an excellent job with controlling crime in the county. If you look at the crime reports over the years Columbia County has one of the lowest murder counts in GA. This new CAD system will also help the community by cutting dispatching time drastically, and allowing the citizens of Columbia County to feel more secure. That way when you call 911 we will know where "you" and the "deputy" are--all thats left is to draw a line of travel between the two....Also, 911 is for Emergencies Only---if you have a non-emergent call...please cal 541-2800!!! Thanks

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 12/13/07 - 04:03 pm
0
0
PTHS - This system allows

PTHS - This system allows officers to run vehicle information when they have a vehicle pulled over for a traffic stop. Additionally, if running surveilance, you can run the tag number immediately of suspicious vehicles without using your radio which uses up other resources and may be monitored via scanners, etc. This also allows deputies to remaion on their beats or assigned areas or simply be visible to the public at gas stations or restaurants (to give complainers something to complain about) while they complete paperwork vs. traveling back and forth to sub-stations. Additionally, there work can be critiqued prior to the end of the day by supervisors and gets information out quickly to additional personnel. Therefore, these units will pay for theirselves by saving gas, manhours, etc. but one day will save a life and if they only save the life of 1 citizen or officer or assit in the apprehension of one murderer, then they are certainly worth the expense. The Sheriff has taken a very positive action by placing this equipment to use in his department. RCSO was ahead of the game with computers in cars but now they are too outdated and a system such as this is needed badly.

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