WAHOO – A use agreement between Saunders County and Wahoo law enforcement didn’t meet with opposition last week, but the county supervisors were not quite ready yet to give it their full stamp of approval.
Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz and Wahoo Police Chief Bruce Ferrell attended the Saunders County Board of Supervisors’ meeting Dec. 18. Put on the table was a proposed agreement for records management.
The sheriff’s office made a switch in digital records management systems in 2016. The switch was from Sleuth to Justice Data Solutions.
The Wahoo Police Department is currently using Sleuth, but start using Justice Data Solutions in February.
Stukenholtz said the intent is to integrate the records management systems for the sheriff’s office and police department and for the police department to house its digital information on the county’s server.
People are also reading…
Each law enforcement agency would still maintain its own records, but having them on the same server would allow for sharing of records.
“It allows two-way communication, so I think it’s a win-win,” Stukenholtz said.
Ferrell said a big benefit is that each agency will have access to expanded information.
As cases change and criminal histories evolve, that information does not always get updated into a specific data base. Sharing records will make a difference, he said.
“It’s going to keep officers safer,” he added.
The supervisors agreed there would be benefits to record sharing, but had questions about costs.
Stukenholtz said he is using the philosophy that the county should not make money from a shared records management agreement, but it should not come at an expense either.
The city has agreed to pay for the initial hardware costs, which will include a secure line between city hall and the county’s Law Enforcement and Judicial Center.
That is already written into the agreement.
However, some soft costs are also expected. These costs include county IT staffing time and impact to the county’s bandwidth and backup storage.
County IT Manger Josh Moyer said the soft costs were hard to estimate up front. He said integrating the systems and working with them moving forward would require some of his time.
Supervisor Larry Mach said the time spent working with the city records could add up, even if it is just an hour here and there.
“That’s an hour less you work for us,” Mach said.
Supervisor Dave Lutton agreed.
“I think it’s a good idea, but potentially you will be spending some time,” he told Moyer.
The proposed agreement does have a one-year review period built in. Moyer said the purpose of this was to be able to review the soft costs, which the city could then be asked to reimburse.
But, several supervisors suggested that there should be a flat fee up front, as well as a review. Upon review of actual time and expenses, that flat amount could then be adjusted for overpayment or underpayment.
Moyer was also questioned if adding the city’s data would put a burden on the county’s existing server. He said new hardware would eventually be needed, but that would be driven by the county’s needs.
“It’s going to take up a piece of the server, but it’s a small piece,” he said about the city’s usage.
Stukenholtz was also asked if other towns in the county could benefit from such an arrangement.
The sheriff has checked on that. He said Ashland wanted to continue to use the system it currently had and other towns do not have the case load.
The agreement was tabled and the two law enforcement officials said they would work with IT and legal counsel to get more specific costs into the document. The supervisors next meet on Jan. 8.
Even before final agreement approval was given, Moyer said there were things that he, the sheriff and Wahoo police department could work in order to meet the February deadline for the city.