Public safety records system upgrade needed
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
1/30/13 at 4:12 AM
Read continuing coverage of Tulsa’s City Council.
Transforming the city's decades-old public safety records system into a state-of-the-art program would cost approximately $5 million, the city of Tulsa's interim information technology director said Tuesday.
"Our problem now is we have high technology not working well with an antiquated system," said Police Maj. Jonathan Brooks, acting director of the city's Information Technology Department.
He made his remarks during a Tuesday afternoon meeting of the Public Safety Intelligence Working Group.
The working group was created in response to the Jan. 7 quadruple homicide at the Fairmont Terrace Apartments near 61st Street and Peoria Avenue. It includes representatives of the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the media.
It is exploring ways the city can improve communication between residents and the police when it comes to gathering anonymous tips.
The Police Department's records management system, known as TRACIS, was established by the city in 1976, Brooks said.
The new system would replace not only the police department's records management system but also the municipal court system's - providing a single source of information throughout the course of legal proceedings.
Brooks said records from the Fire Department and the city's Working In Neighborhoods and Animal Control departments could also be stored in the new system.
"All of those things are record management that are related to law enforcement," Brooks said.
Terry O'Malley, technical system manager for the city's 911 emergency service, said the city has been cobbling together its records system since it created TRACIS.
"If they (the public) knew the antiquated tools that we are sending our public safety people out with today, they would be ashamed, and should be ashamed," O'Malley said.
Brooks said the new system would allow different departments to share information.
He noted, for example, that the city's parking ticket system is automated but that the tickets have to be printed out before the court system can enter them into its records system.
Brooks recommended that a single vendor provide the new system to eliminate the need to customize individual components of the system to make them compatible - something the city has had to do over the years.
Brooks emphasized that his cost estimate was a preliminary figure and said implementing a new system would take three years.
City Councilor Jeannie Cue said it "sounds like we need to revamp - totally."
Councilor G.T. Bynum, who created the working group, said after the meeting that the presentation drove home the need for a new system.
"I thought it was amazing that the system that we are still using still works ... and you can't share information with other law enforcement agencies," Bynum said.
Development of a new records management system is expected to be among the shared goals of the mayor and City Council to be rolled out in the next month.
The working group is expected to meet again next week before coming up with recommendations.
Original Print Headline: Public safety records system upgrade needed
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
G.T. Bynum: The city councilor said the city needs a new public safety records management system, as the current one is badly outdated. "I thought it was amazing that the system that we are still using still works ... and you can't share information with other law enforcement agencies," he said Tuesday