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Jasper County, Ill., Considers Software that Maps 911 Callers' Locations

The software also gives police and deputies instant access to a network of records at traffic stops, and helps with jail management.

(TNS) — Jasper County, Ill., officials say they're researching a software program that would show where 911 callers are on a map, give police and deputies instant access to a network of records at traffic stops, and help with jail management.

The program would cost a total of $160,000 if Jasper County decides to buy it. That's at a reduced cost because of a partnership with Crawford County that's also being considered. Law enforcement agencies in both counties would be able to use the software and help shoulder the cost of it.

Jasper County Sheriff Rick Britton likes what he's learned about the software so far, but he understands that the price has to fit into the county's budget.

"It's something that I think would be very beneficial to us," he said Tuesday. "But because of our financial situation in Jasper County, we're trying to be careful before we venture too far on spending."

Dynegy Inc. announced in May that it would shut down one of its units at Newton Power Plant. That's a move that could reduce the county's tax dollars and hurt the local economy, said Ken Larimore, a University of Illinois Extension educator.

And it might delay buying the advanced software that Jasper County has been considering, Britton said.

Effingham County and Fayette County already use the software, and if Crawford County and Jasper County buy the program too, Britton said his deputies would have access to a large database.

So if a Jasper County deputy pulled someone over for reckless driving, that deputy would be able to check if the driver has any prior offenses from any of the counties that use the software.

"That kind of information would be vital," Britton said.

The same sort of data sharing would happen with offenders that the department arrests. Britton said he and his staff would be able to check if someone has had problems in jails at other counties.

If someone that's booked has had problems with a particular race while jailed in another county, for example, Britton said he and his staff would know that. And they could make sure two people who might clash aren't placed in the same cell together.

The Jasper County Board discussed the program at its last meeting, but no action has been taken yet. At this point, Chairman Joe Bierman said more research needs to be done but that the partnership with Crawford County is a smart idea.

"I do know it's a cost saver for everybody," he said.

©2016 the Effingham Daily News (Effingham, Ill.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.