Kendall County Sheriff Richard Randall announced that the Sheriff’s Office has completed major technology and equipment upgrades of its in-squad mobile data computer (MDC) and video recording systems.
The completion of these projects makes the Sheriff’s Office the first law enforcement agency in Kendall County to fully transition to the new Ken Com Communications center En Route mobile computer aided dispatching software, and to a fully cellular MDC communications system.
It also creates new server and network infrastructure within the Sheriff’s Office for the latest generation of in-car digital video recording. The Sheriff’s Office maintains the largest law enforcement fleet in Kendall County.
“The old radio modem system that Kendall County law enforcement agencies have been relying on for MDC communications is on its way out, and we have been anticipating these technology improvements for some time.” said Randall. “The cellular system and new mobile computer aided dispatch software provides more flexibility to communicate, and access to more information out on the street. The networked in-car video system also enhances data sharing. For example, attorneys within the State’s Attorney’s Office will be able to view recorded in car video directly from their desk computers.”
Keeping up with the pace of technology, while keeping the cost to the taxpayer at a minimum, is a real challenge, according to Randall. “We have to strike a balance between fiscal responsibility, and putting the right technology and equipment in place to get the job done efficiently, effectively and safely.” Randall said.
Randall said that his staff started project planning and budgeting in early 2012, and that by August, 2012 they were ready to bring the plans and funding requests to the Kendall County Board. “Sheriff’s Office revenues were coming in higher than projected at the end of 2012 and expenditures were under budget, which allowed us to help offset the cost for these projects.” said Randall.
“The MDC and digital video recording system projects had great support from the Kendall County Board.” said Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Koster. “Operations Division Commander Phil Smith and Deputy Commander Brian Jahp put together a plan, and provided comprehensive presentations for Board members to give them a clear understanding of what we needed to accomplish. The Board saw the need, and authorized funding to move forward.”
Based on estimated costs, the Board appropriated $200,000 for the projects. The funding provided new mobile data computers and associated software, upgraded network servers and software licensing for the next generation of in-car digital video recording, as well as installation and programming costs.
Sheriff’s Office Police Operations Commander Phil Smith said that, thanks to support provided by Kendall County Technology Services Director Stan Laken and his staff, the projects were ultimately completed for $15,000.00 under budget. “Director Laken and his staff provided a lot of expertise and did a lot of network setup and system integration work in house to minimize the expense of outside vendors. That provided some real cost savings.” Smith said.
Deputy Commander Brian Jahp, who coordinated implementation of the projects, said access to more information by Deputies on the street is one of the greatest benefits of the technology upgrades. From the planning stages, Sheriff’s Office staff wanted to integrate access to the Sheriff’s Office and County computer network into the MDC system.
“Deputies in the field have access to the Illinois Law Enforcement Agency Data System (LEADS) and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) data, and enhancements like digital imaging from the Secretary of State’s Office. They can easily access data and historical information from the Ken Com CAD system, and have access to the Sheriff’s Office computer network and records management system. These enhancements also provide the infrastructure for the future implementation of things like mobile crash reporting and electronic citations,” Deputy Commander Jahp said.
“For me, the biggest advantage of the new system is the amount of information available to be viewed from your car.” said Deputy Kevin Vaclavik, a Field Training Officer for the Sheriff’s Office.
“You can easily look up prior activity on people, places and vehicles, view drivers license and state identification photos. We can also access police reports and booking information maintained by the Sheriff’s Office, as well as Oswego, Yorkville and Plano police departments. Nearly everything that we used to do in the office can now be done from the car.”