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Sheriff’s office working on digital upgrades

By Kayleigh Rahn
Several changes are in the works at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office with new Sheriff Joshua Blackwell at the helm since December. And it seems that many of Blackwell’s initial moves have a common theme of upgrading technology.

“We want to use technology to our advantage,” Blackwell said. “We have had upgrades in the past to move us into the 21st century, but we’re not all the way there yet. This will hopefully move us more full circle so we have a lot of the advantages that technology can provide. My concern is that if you bring Cronus in here and the wind farm. If you have the potential for 3,000 additional people in the county you want to have that efficient, reliable public infrastructure in place.”

CAD System
The biggest ticket item the sheriff’s office will see in the coming months is an upgrade to the dispatching software. A new program from Zuercher Technologies will replace the county’s computer-aided dispatch, or CAD, system. Blackwell says he hopes the abilities the new system will bring the staff will result in more efficient response times to emergencies.

“The way we dispatch now, the dispatcher has to log everything – phone number, name, address, location, and with Zuercher a lot of that stuff will be logged for them,” Blackwell explained. “So the dispatcher can immediately begin taking the chief complaint and figure out what’s going on. Obviously, by them being able to address the chief complaint, that allows us to get people on the scene quicker by taking away the time that it takes for the dispatcher to log all the initial information.”

In addition to logging information, the system will allow dispatchers to see where deputies’ are located throughout the county in live time using GPS, which allows them to call the closest deputy to scene of every complaint.

“The dispatcher will be able to see which deputy is closest using GPS, which means you’re getting the closest person to the call on the scene first every time,” he explained. “Everything the dispatcher types following that, the deputy will be able to see in live form (on his or her squad car computers), which is something we cannot do now at all.”

The full story can be found in the March 6, 2019 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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