County board to consider contract to integrate public safety records

The first of three contracts to update and integrate all public safety records and information systems in Anoka County will go to the Anoka County Board for action at its Tuesday, Nov. 12 meeting.

The board will consider a purchase of service agreement for the law enforcement component with TriTech Software Systems, headquartered in San Diego, Calif., for the installation of a computer aided dispatch system for Anoka County Central Communications as well as mobile, law enforcement records, sub-systems, system hardware, implementation and ongoing maintenance costs.

Both the Anoka County Board’s Public Safety Committee and Anoka County Law Enforcement Council have signed off on the contract, which includes four other business partners with TriTech.

The joint law enforcement council, chaired by Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo, was created more than 30 years ago to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement in the county. It comprises representatives from all law enforcement agencies in the county as well as city councils and the county board.

The council, the only one of its kind in the state, met Oct. 30 and recommended approval of the contract, according to Palumbo.

In addition to approving the contract Nov. 12, the county board will be asked to authorize the sale of bonds or capital notes to pay for the installation of the new public safety data system, Palumbo said.

The county has received bonding authority from the Minnesota Legislature for up to $8 million for the project, Palumbo said.

According to figures presented to the cities by the project committee, which comprises members of the joint law enforcement council and the Anoka County Fire Protection Council, the estimated cost of the project is $7.6 million, with the TriTech contract the largest at an estimated $6.2 million.

Property taxes are paying for the capital costs through a line item that appears on the tax statement of each property owner in the county.

The Anoka County Board in December 2012 authorized the first payment of $1 million which appeared on this year’s property tax statements.

The line item will continue to appear on the tax statements until 2023 when the debt will be retired, Palumbo said.

Maintenance costs will be shared by the county and cities with police and fire departments under formulas agreed to by the joint law enforcement council (police) and the fire protection council (fire), according to Palumbo.

In the case of the law enforcement component, operations costs will be determined by calls for service in each jurisdiction.

For the fire records component, the maintenance costs will be determined by an average of calls for service over a five-year period, as well as market value divided by $1 million and population divided by 100.

Negotiations with vendors continue on the other two contracts – one for the fire records and the other for jail records and interface.

According to Jerry Streich, Centennial Fire District chief and a member of the public safety data system governance committee, the fire records component should be ready for approval in two months.

Originally, the plan had been to have one contract to cover all facets of the new public safety data system, but that was found not to be feasible, Streich said.

Once the law enforcement contract is approved, Palumbo said the top priority will be to get the new computer aided dispatch system in place in Central Communications.

But the goal is to have the entire project – law enforcement, fire and jail – completed and up and running in 30 months, according to Palumbo.

By integrating police, fire and jail records into one system, financial and operations efficiencies will be achieved, Palumbo said.

And Anoka County will be a model not only for the state, but the entire country, he said.

“The present system CAD system is over 30 years old and cannot be supported anymore,” Palumbo said.

That was the impetus for countywide effort to integrate all the records into one system.

The current public information systems in the county are fragmented with different systems being used by different public safety agencies within the county, according to materials provided by the joint law enforcement and fire protection councils.

For example, call records in the 911 dispatch center are not integrated with either police or fire records, while the countywide law enforcement records systems, at 12 years old, is at the end of its lifespan, they state.

An example of the ability to share information between police and fire departments once the new system in place will be the ability for police to see design layouts prepared by fire departments of buildings which police might need to enter to investigate a crime, according to Streich.

That’s not the case now, Streich said. “All the information systems will be integrated for sharing of data,” he said.

A contract signing ceremony has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m., at the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]