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TMCNet:  Broomfield police to embark on $4.5M computer system upgrade

[January 04, 2013]

Broomfield police to embark on $4.5M computer system upgrade

Jan 03, 2013 (Broomfield Enterprise - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Broomfield Police Department is gearing up for a major computer system overhaul that will replace its 14-year-old software in an effort to streamline communications and cut down on time spent on paperwork.

The multi-year, $4.5 million project aims to save the department from slow, redundant data entry, so officers spend more time on the street or working cases instead of filling out paperwork on a slow system.

The new system will improve communication between all elements of the department, said Chief Tom Deland.

"Police work is about having enough manpower and having the right information in the right hands," he said. "This isn't just important to us, but to the citizens. If it takes hours to fill out (a report,) that is not time we're spending responding to service." A new system is critical, because the department's current software is so old that updates are no longer available and maintenance is becoming more difficult. The software was meant to serve the city when it had about 35,000 residents in 1998, but Broomfield has since grown to more than 55,000 people and has become its own county with a county court system, a jail and a fire department with an emergency medical service.

"We need a system that will address all those needs," he said.

The new system won't be completed until 2015, but Deland said the long-term process needs to take its time in order to help uphold the police department's biggest priority: Keeping residents safe.

"This is one of the biggest impacts on our law enforcement system next to getting our own jail," he said.

In January 2012, the department and contractor DELTAWRX performed an initial analysis on the the police department's system, which found the platform and user interface were severely outdated. The company's analysis- -- an 819-page report -- also showed that data entry procedures were redundant and the system made it hard for employees to access certain types of data or compare statistics, according to a memo from city staff.

City Council in November unanimously voted to approve another contract with DELTAWRX to begin the design and implementation process for a new system.

Council members said the proposal was pricey, but agreed the system was "certainly justifiable," said Councilman Mike Shelton.

The next steps include sending out a request for proposals for software companies, reviewing the incoming proposals and making a recommendation to council to approve an appropriate software package. Staff could make a recommendation by June, according to Deputy City and County Manager Kevin Standbridge.

The project is an expensive undertaking, in part because the scope of work includes choosing a vendor, designing and managing the system and training the department's more than 200 employees.

The police department also is expected to request a senior-level project manager and an additional IT employee to help with the conversion, according to the staff memo.

"The $4.5 million we'll spend is a lot, but if we can save more lives and clear more crimes, it's money well-spent," Deland said.

Contact Enterprise Staff Writer Megan Quinn at 303-410-2649 or ___ (c)2013 the Broomfield Enterprise (Broomfield, Colo.) Visit the Broomfield Enterprise (Broomfield, Colo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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