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New Police Records System Costs More than Expected

A more integrated police records system along the North Shore will provide an instant line of communication from the dispatch center to police squads, but will cost more than was budgeted.

Installation of a new police records system, which Shorewood’s police chief heralded as the "complete package," will cost 2 1/2 times more than the village planned.

The North Shore Consolidated Dispatch Center in Bayside opened in June, supporting police and fire dispatching services for Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, River Hills, Glendale, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay

Currently, the communities use three records management providers that do not work together, creating a variety of problems including squads on the street aren't aware of where other officers are, dispatch cannot contact all cars via the computer systems or track the location of the squads.

In an effort to maximize the available technology at the new dispatch center, North Shore police chiefs decided it would be more efficient for all departments to use a single records management system, overseen by the dispatch employees in Bayside.

On Monday, Shorewood trustees joined other communities in switching to ProPhoenix, from its previous provider Spillman, at a one-time cost of $133,236. The system comes with a annual maintenance costs of:

  • $18,103 in 2013,
  • $17,763 in 2014,
  • $17,825 in 2015,
  • $17,544 in 2016, 
  • $17,495 in 2017.

The entire initial cost split among the seven communities for the ProPhoenix bid is $639,861.

Shorewood originally budgeted $50,000 for a new records management system and $9,000 for maintenance — though Shorewood Police Chief David Banszynski said he will find the difference for maintenance in the police department budget. 

The village will pull funds from the Capitol Fund and General Fund surplus to fund the difference. 

"We wish the numbers were lower, but they are what they are," Trustee Michael Maher said. "The need is there."

Accessing records, improving communication

All police departments in Milwaukee County, with the exception of the city of Milwaukee, already use the new software so North Shore police officers may be able to access other departments' records from their squads, Banaszynksi said.

The instant line of communication from the dispatch center to police squads will result in a quicker, more efficient system and help make the job safer for officers. It means being able to know where other departments' squads are, storing and pulling up records from a squad from other police forces and inventorying evidence among other tasks, Banaszynski said. 

“It’s the complete package,” Police Chief David Banaszynksi said. “It really puts us one step closer to where we want to be, and puts the department where I’ve wanted it to be for several years now.”

Additionally, the software enables individual squads to communicate with the dispatch center and access additional information before they respond to a scene.

Brown Deer was exempted from the implementation cost because it recently signed a contract with ProPhoenix, but it will still pay maintenance and service costs over the next five years.

Additionally, Shorewood will pay roughly $10,975 over four years, beginning in 2014, as part of a combined North Shore effort to save for a replacement system in the future.

Shorewood and Fox Point were the last two communities to take up and approve the agreement. 

Correction Thursday Jan 10: This article incorrectly stated Shorewood would enter into a three-year deal with Bayside to pay for the ProPhoenix system. Shorewood will pull funds from reserves to pay for the records system. 

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