State wants to extend Saginaw police database

SAGINAW (AP) -- The Michigan State Police want to take over an award-winning Saginaw County police records sharing system and put it into use statewide.

The computer system links squad cars to police records, according to The Saginaw News. It won an award from the Michigan Government Management Information Sciences in 2008 for "Best Technology Project."

Former Saginaw County Sheriff Charles L. Brown developed the system in 2006 to link police reports and other records with most of Saginaw County's law enforcement agencies. It has since grown to 52 agencies in 10 Michigan counties, Sheriff William Federspiel said.

It has been such a success that Michigan State Police want to run it and eventually make it a statewide records-sharing system. To make that happen, the sheriff has asked the county to approve a $6.6 million Competitive Assistance Program Grant to help pay for transitioning to a state-run system. The request is scheduled to go to the county Board of Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday.

"We saw that there was a great opportunity to collaborate," said 1st Lt. Al Renz, commander of the State Police Criminal Justice Information Center's incident section. "We're very impressed with their business model. It met the basic needs of all police agencies."

Felderspiel said the system gives police an up-to-the-minute edge over bad guys.

"They can get into their cars, they can pull up a name, they can find out exactly what our agency did two minutes ago," Federspiel told the newspaper. "And it helps solve crime."

He said he charges agencies $267 per user to access the system annually so it pays for itself.

If State Police take it over, that could cuts costs for users, Federspiel said.

"Quite frankly, it is a behemoth of a program and an operation," Federspiel said. "It is very, very taxing on my organization at times, but it is all so important for us to continue it."

Renz said the plan is to quickly go from 1,500 users to four times that many.

"Our five-year plan is to have over 6,000 officers on this throughout the state," Renz said. "Our projected goal would be to add about 1,000 officers a year."

Published: Tue, Sep 17, 2013