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Police, Sheriff hold demo on proposed shared database in Wapello County

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 8:55 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - The City of Ottumwa and Wapello County each have over three million dollars of American Rescue Plan funds to spend on local projects. One idea is coming from local law enforcement a shared database.

A demonstration of a new dispatch system local law enforcement wants to bring to the City and County. While Ottumwa Police and Wapello Sheriff department both are housed in the same building Police Chief Chad Farrington says their current systems have “walls”. “Our current systems, they don’t communicate whatsoever. So unless somebody has the time and can physically go and tell another person which may only be one person, per se, that particular information, it doesn’t get shared.”

The demo Wednesday showed the value of a shared system - from a 911 call all the way to the analytic report, it’s all under one roof.

The same software - CentralSquare - is used in Marshalltown. Police Chief Michael Tupper says the system has been a game-changer. One part that energized the chief - a mobile app version of the software, that can track officers’ GPS locations in real-time. He says they don’t have anything like that now. “That would be a great tool to provide us.”

The CentralSquare presentation boasted it can reduce overall time on data entry, dispatching, maintenance, and reporting for law enforcement. An idea that seems to energize the chief: “If we can reduce the time that it takes an officer to write a report, that equals more time the officer’s out there on the streets.”

The system can be shared between more than law enforcement - Fire, EMS, and Emergency Management can also all get access to the shared system. But a system like this doesn’t come cheap. While there’s no specific estimate yet, the Chief says it will easily be over six figures.

Which is a hardy percentage of the city and county ARPA funds.

But the chief says he’s optimistic about bringing it to the city administrator. “We don’t want to plateau. We want to continue to look at all of the options to see what is the best service, most efficient, most professional way we can provide the best service possible for the community.”

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