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County to Upgrade Dispatch Response, Communication

"The Sheriff's Office needed a database that would be an all-encompassing system. Currently, we are operating out of multiple systems which means duplicating work and loss of valuable time."

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(TNS) - The Cleveland County Sheriff's Office will soon implement a technology software that promises to improve dispatch response to people in distress.

A contract with Central Square Technologies will cost the county $638,723. The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners approved the allocation at its Monday meeting.

"The Sheriff's Office needed a database that would be an all-encompassing system. Currently, we are operating out of multiple systems which means duplicating work and loss of valuable time," Sheriff Chris Amason said in a prepared statement.

Ultimately the service will mean the county saves money, District 1 Rod Cleveland said, noting the county streamlines services offered by computer-aided dispatch and jail management software. It also "functions on a standardized protocol for all other law enforcement" in Oklahoma including Norman police, he said.

Dispatchers will be able to send a text message under certain circumstances and use a location identifier technology to more quickly reach a person in crisis. This technology uses mobile mapping and can respond to misdials with an automated text, the statement reads

The upgrade also includes a "locate feature" that sends a link to the caller's phone. Amason in his statement called this feature a standout for responding to rural areas.

"When accepted by the caller, dispatch will be able to view real time location data, accurate within just a few feet," he said. This feature also enables callers to send photos to dispatch and deputies helping to identify subjects and enhance officer safety."

Promised perks of the software will mean both the sheriff's office and the jail communications systems will communicate with both servers or talk to each other, the statement reads.The system will share information between dispatch, records and the detention center.

"This will allow for faster and more accurate report completion with the ability to enter digital evidence directly into case reports and reduce booking time by importing demographics and charges directly from records," the statement reads.

Jail officers will be able to access data from arrests, warrants and previous incidents in "real time," the statement reads.

Customization of forms will allow jail staff to identify inmates in need and connect them with services, according to the statement.

Additionally, the software has built-in analytics to inform deputies where the most need for patrol exists and inform case management "to close cases faster," the statement reads.

Commissioners were in full support of the technology purchase.

"This new software will increase efficiency and improve communication between dispatchers and first responders making it a valuable improvement in emergency services for Cleveland County ," said District 2 Commissioner and Chair Darry Stacy . " Sheriff Amason and his leadership team budgeted for this important investment and worked to select a quality product to better serve the public."

District 3 Commissioner Harold Haralson said improving efficiency is a matter of life and death.

"The importance of communication between dispatchers and emergency responders in the field is a key safety measure," Haralson said. "Our sheriff's office dispatches for all of the rural fire departments as well as for their deputies and having the right equipment can mean the difference between life and death."

Mindy Wood covers City Hall news and notable court cases for The Transcript. Reach her at mwood@normantranscript.com or 405-416-4420.

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