Software could link responders

PHILIPPI – A new software program could help link call records from the Barbour County Sheriff’s Department to the Philippi Police Department and the county’s 911 Center.

The records database software, from In-Synch Systems, already is used by the Philippi Police Department, Sales Specialist Mike VanKirk told the Barbour County Commission Monday. He demonstrated the software for the commissioners and Sheriff Phil Ferguson to show its capabilities.

“It could access call info from the 911 Center,” Commission President Tim McDaniel said after the meeting. “We have to make sure it is compatible with what we have at the 911 center, but I think it will be.”

No decisions were made whether or not to purchase the software unit for $3,012.75 for access on one computer, but McDaniel said he was confident the Commission will proceed with the purchase at its next meeting, at 5 p.m. on June 2. He said he expected one unit of the software would be purchased and shared at one station between the deputies.

“We’re going to go with one working station, and all deputies can fill out reports from one working station,” McDaniel said. “The sheriff thinks we can get by with one.”

The database will allow officers to search for a name or partial name and all people who share that name or a similar name will be shown in the search results,” he said. “If a record is found, and a person’s address needs to be updated, an officer can remotely change that information without destroying previous records.”

A history of past addresses will be created so that when police are investigating a person, they can quickly and easily find past residences when trying to locate that person, VanKirk said. Each agency, be it 911, city police, EMS or a sheriff’s department, can selectively share case information pertinent to an investigation, he said.

“It depends on how much they want to show or how much you want to give,” VanKirk said. “What you can see is the entire case, the entire investigation and all the names and everything that you would like.”

If a photo is available of the person, it can be added to the database record as well. If that person has identifying features, like a tattoo or scar, those can be indicated in a visual diagram. Photos of those features, if available, also can be stored on the database.

In some instances, the software can help determine if someone is lying to police by saying they are not acquainted with another person. The database can keep a record of people associated with another person in past incidents, cases or reports, officials said.

The records database also can keep track of employees and officers, the equipment they are using and their personal information. Dates of reports can be automatically filled in with the click of a mouse.

The software also can keep track of calls that are placed for fires, domestic issues and more.

VanKirk said delivery of the system, which normally would cost $1,200, would be completed without charge. He said training costs for deputies and administration would be $600 each. An annual help desk support fee would be $395.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

– Commissioners voted to contribute $5,000 to the Friends of George Byrer Field, a community based organization seeking to renovate the athletic complex at Philip Barbour High School. The work would be done according to plans already set forth by a failed attempt to secure a Barbour County Board of Education bond for the project.

County Administrator Jeff Rogers said he was a member of the organization, noting the project will be done in phases so the community can see it come together as the funds for each phase are raised. He said the first phase will be to replace the lighting poles at the stadium.

– Commissioners also voted to donate $500 to the Philip Barbour High School Technology Students Association for an upcoming national trip.

– The exhibit hall at the Barbour County Fairgrounds, which was recently said to be unsafe by County Commission President Tim McDaniel, is awaiting demolition until the county can advertise for bids. Commissioners voted to proceed with the advertising.