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Oct 11, 2011 4:35 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Police Chief Pitches Technology Upgrades

Oct 12, 2011 11:33 AM

Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. on Friday pitched a plan for his department to move to a paperless citation process in an effort to improve the efficiency of the force.

Chief Wilson described the department’s current technology as “archaic and very paper-driven” during a presentation to the Southampton Town Board on Friday.

He recommended that the board move ahead with purchasing a new records management system for $240,000 from Admit Computer Services, a Farmingdale-based firm, that would allow officers to process arrests and issue tickets electronically instead of writing them out. The system, referred to as “impact,” could cut in half the time it takes to make an arrest. Currently, the department is using a 21-year-old arrest booking and records management system, he said.

Citing an example of improved efficiency, the chief said it currently takes about 3.5 to 4 hours to process a DWI arrest. With the new technology, officers could process DWI arrests in about 2 to 2.5 hours, “which gets the officer back on the road and serving the public and not quite so mired down by paperwork,” he said.

Chief Wilson is credited with spearheading a technology overhaul, which included introducing the paperless system, when he was chief of the Southampton Village Police Department.

Automated ticketing would also allow Town Police officers to provide supporting depositions at the time a ticket is issued—cutting down on the number of cases dismissed when police officers fail to provide such a deposition when requested. When the Village Police Department went to the new system, conviction rates rose, based on that facet of the technology alone, he said. “Efficiency and revenue wise, it would be wise to have an automated ticketing system,” he said.

The system would cost the town about $240,000, according to Michael Nizich, a representative of the company. The chief is also recommending the Town Board purchase an annual maintenance contract for $97,092. That contract would be included in the first year’s $240,000 cost.

The town would likely see additional costs, according to Town Comptroller Tamara Wright, noting that it would need to purchase software and equipment and also pay for implementation costs. Although Ms. Wright said that the Town Board was expected to vote on the project Tuesday, it did not take action.

The system upgrades are also needed, Chief Wilson stressed, in order to cope with an anticipated reduced workforce next year. Six senior officers would be forced to retire under the tentative budget proposed by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, and two other high-ranking officers are expected to retire voluntarily. The total police force would be at its lowest level in years, 90 officers, representing about a 15-percent reduction since 2008. The town “really can’t afford” to proceed next year without addressing the department’s records management system, he said.

“What I’m looking to do is to get as close to paperless as possible,” he said.

Code Updates

The Town Board on Friday also discussed a measure to update the wording in classifications of residential, business and industrial zoning uses in the town code. The measure, which was also the subject of a public hearing on Tuesday, would essentially adopt a new system of classifications in the town code of uses in the residential, business and industrial districts.

Town Planning and Development Administrator Jefferson Murphree on Friday described the move as a first step in eventually amending some of those uses.

Classifications refer to the types of uses that are currently spelled out in the town code as allowable in a given district. For example, under residential uses, classifications include single-family detached dwelling, two-family detached dwelling, etc. Currently, the town uses an outdated system called the Standard Industrial Classification system. Town officials want to adopt a new system, called the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS.

Mr. Murphree stressed that adopting the NAICS would not alter or amend the town’s actual uses. He and Chief Building Inspector Michael Benincasa emphasized that what’s prohibited will still be prohibited, and what’s allowed in the code will still remain. Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski added that all that would change is the physical numbering of the uses.

“We want to keep it simple,” Mr. Murphree said. “We want to keep it as a first step, so that we get this very important first step out of the way.”

At a future date, he said, town officials will conduct a thorough review of the town’s zoning uses, with an eye toward refining them. That will include looking at what’s currently permitted and prohibited in the code, and whether some uses can be consolidated into groups.

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how much is a patrolman's per hour cost? the system saves 2 hours per citation, each officer would save let's say 4 hours per week or 45*5 or 180 hours per year, so 180 hours * $50/hour = $9,000 per year per patrolman.

so one year's system maintenance = $100,000 not including hardware and down time when the system from some no name manufacturer in farmingdale goes bad.

plus about $300,000 upfront costs at least.

what other police jurisdictions use this ticketing system? ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Oct 12, 11 6:44 PM
Make it easier to write a ticket? No thanks.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Oct 12, 11 9:47 PM