EATON — The Preble County Sheriff’s Office presented a new public safety software system to the Preble County Commissioners during a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
Sheriff Mike Simpson gave the commissioners a summary of what the department requested and what the chosen company is willing to offer, however, commissioners are still discussing the request and the changes it would bring to both Preble County and the City of Eaton.
“We reviewed the proposal that was submitted by Zuercher Technologies. It appears that they answered ‘yes’ to all of the technical requirements asked in the RFP. It appears they have included all of the elements that were specified in the RFP,” Sheriff Simpson said.
He added, those specs included: single suite software, vendor-provided maintained servers, vendor maintenance of software servers, backup, updates, maintenance and subscription fees for five years after the go-live date, complete conversion of the data from the Sheriff Department and Eaton Police Department into one suite, requested interfaces, and a stand-by server at Eaton Police Department.
According to Simpson, the stand-by server at EPD allows for it to become the main server within 2 minutes if anything were to happen to the main server. This provides redundancy and allows for the county to be covered in case of an emergency.
Zuercher Suite will allow for more options, not only for law enforcement, but also for fire and EMS. The Sheriff’s Department will be able to share information at all levels with EPD and there is also an option for other departments in Preble County to join, at a minimal cost on their side.
This new software system will also allow for on-site reporting through mobile data terminals. This provides the same level of access based on their user credentials that they would have at their desktop, which would save officers drive time, according to Simpson.
The mobile data terminals would apply to both the Sheriff’s Department and Eaton Police Department. Any Preble County village can partner with Zuercher Technologies for a cost of $10 per month, per device.
“It sounds like it is going to be much-improved,” Commissioner Denise Robertson said.
Simpson recommended they enter contract negotiations, but Commission President Chris Day suggested they wait until Commissioner Rodney Creech was present so they would have a full board. The commissioners resolved to discuss the matter again during the meeting on Monday, Feb. 5.
During the meeting on Monday, Day recapped, “They relayed to us that it met all of the requirements and they were okay with moving forward with that. Basically, I asked the Sheriff to come up with a summary of what they were getting, so we could make sure we knew what they were requesting. We looked through the larger bullet points of what was in that request. It met all of their requirements and they reached out to three entities, two replied back to them with positive responses, Simpson’s recommendation was to move forward and start working on an agreement.”
Commission Clerk Connie Crowell had a question regarding the responsibility of licenses. She asked if the City of Eaton is responsible for obtaining their own licenses. She stated the license costs could amount to $4,800.
“The way I understood it is that it was a package deal to get this up and running. Anything above and beyond what they would need, and maybe I’m not understanding that correctly, but this was all part of that initial bid package,” Day answered.
Administrative Assistant Kim Keller noted, “When they were working on the original RFP and they broke it out, the fact that they broke it out between licenses needed for Eaton Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department, we talked about it and I remembered mentioning it to them that they would have to know the cost of the licenses, because the city would be responsible for paying for theirs.
“When the Sheriff first came in to talk about this and he talked about going with a system that would allow for other entities to store their records on it and they would be responsible for their licenses. When he first proposed this it would be that we would convert all the data and that is why the dispatch thing states that we would be responsible for converting it, but the City would be responsible for the licenses that enables them to access where the data is all stored,” Keller said.
“We’re going to be storing both their historic records and their new ones. When we talked about it he said that they would be responsible for the licenses that are needed to access that. In order for them to access those records from their cruisers and their offices, they would have to purchase the licenses.”
“I remember that conversation too, but I think to make sure we are not back-dooring anybody, we need to communicate this,” Commissioner Rodney Creech said. “I do remember that discussion. I think any village would be responsible for this. We wouldn’t pay for any of the other villages.”
Crowell stated they would prepare documents so they could have something to work off of, but would also provide additional information. Robertson requested a breakdown of fees and licenses. The board will continue to discuss the issue at future commissioner meetings.
The Preble County Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Commission Chambers at the Preble County Courthouse.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH