UNION COUNTY — In the near future “Zuercher” will be playing an important role in making the operations of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Jail, and Union County Detention Center more efficient.
During its June meeting on Tuesday, June 19, Union County Council voted unanimously to authorize Supervisor Frank Hart to sign a commitment for a lease-purchase agreement with Zuercher Technologies.
In presenting the proposal to council, Hart said that the county would be committing to purchase records management software from the company for the Sheriff’s Office, the jail and the detention center. He said that Zuercher had agreed that, if the county signed a commitment to purchase agreement now, it would give the county a 10 percent discount on the software. Hart said that this would reduce the price of the software itself to $198,000. He said that installing the software would also require upgrading the county’s routers and data infrastructure which would cost $50,000 bringing the total cost to approximately $250,000.
Hart said that the county is already doing business with Zuercher which is “providing service to us in our 911 communications related to CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch).” He said that Sheriff David Taylor had “proposed several months back that we look at this company providing record management services for the Sheriff’s Office as well as the jail.”
According to its website (www.zuerchertech.com) Zuercher Technologies is “empowering public safety professionals in the important work they do by raising the bar for what they can expect from their software. Our Zuercher Suite product is a comprehensive, technically advanced system that encompasses computer-aided dispatch, mapping, records management, mobile CAD and records, jail management, civil process, criminal investigations, crime analysis, agency financial, agency administration, and much more.”
The website further states that “Zuercher Technologies is based out of Sioux Falls, SD, and is part of TriTech Software Systems, which is the largest public safety software company in the world with over 3,500 agency installations serving 255+ million citizens in 16 countries.”
In discussing the services provided by Zuercher, Hart said “the new system seems to have some advantages over the system we’re using today. It allows the Sheriff’s Office to have better control over their records and case files, evidence and seized property as well as providing for improved record management at our jail and detention center.”
Hart said the Zuercher system will make it easier and more efficient for deputies to fill out incident reports and spend more time out on patrol.
“Right now deputies have to come in to the station and do their reports and that’s very inefficient,” Hart said. “This system will allow deputies to do their reports in their patrol cars and file them electronically. This will free up a deputy faster to get back to patrolling and responding to calls more quickly.”
Hart said the new system could also enhance cooperation between local law enforcement agencies.
“The system also allows for our county law enforcement officers to share information, particularly case files which can help solve cases,” Hart said. “It would be advantageous if the City of Union and the county migrate to that system that will allow them to share that information.”
Hart added that the implementation of the Zuercher system will also fit in with a larger effort by the county to improve accountability and transparency in its operations, particularly in the area of financial information.
“One of the other advantages is it will provide improved accountability and control of the finances,” Hart said. “That supports our efforts to improve our internal financial controls across the county.”
Hart said the acquisition of the Zuercher system is part of a larger program of capital improvements the county is undertaking to upgrade equipment in both emergency services and waste collection.
“The lease-purchase agreement is one of several capital projects,” Hart said. “They include the purchase or new dispatch consoles at 911. The current consoles are obsolete and we are no longer able to get service or parts for them.
“We are also purchasing a new ambulance for EMS and a new roll truck for solid waste,” he said. “Two of our current ambulances have hundreds of thousands of miles on them and need to be replaced. Our second roll truck has several hundred thousand miles on it and has become unreliable and difficult to maintain.”
In other business, council voted unanimously to advance $35,000 to Kelly-Kelton Fire Department.
The advance was requested by the department’s Board of Trustees to enable the department to purchase a truck.
Hart said that the county, at the request of the department, had issued a bond to raise funds for the department to purchase and upgrade its equipment. He said that while the county has issued the bond, the funds it will generate are not yet available and so the department had requested the advance to enable it to make the needed purchase now.
The letter from the Board of Trustees states that the department will repay the advance immediately upon receipt of the bond money.