Weatherford News

Computer systems updated at Sheriff’s Office

The Parker County Sheriff’s Office converted to new computer systems recently, replacing the dated system which was “vastly becoming inadequate.”

"Our 9-1-1 telecommunications center, jail, criminal investigations division, patrol, records department, fugitive unit, basically every division has a new way of logging, documenting, keeping track and storing cases, calls and jailings," said CID Capt. Mark Arnett. "The replaced system was outdated by more than a decade."

The objective is to provide an integrated computer-aided dispatch, mobile data computer, law enforcement and fire records management system to assist and insure the safety of Parker County residents.

The systems also benefit the county court system.

By replacing the old system, the Sheriff’s Office is now running “efficiently with the best technology available.”

Sheriff Larry Fowler said the transition took months to prepare for.

"Many employees took the initiative to learn the system prior to the conversion and help other employees learn it as well," Fowler said. "Tyler Technologies and Sungard sent team members to train us, but also to assist us in the final ‘Go-Live’ transition over the past week."

Fowler added that Arnett was “instrumental” in the process, from overseeing the initial programming, scheduling and training employees, to staying at the department during the final sign-off process of the old system and implementing the new system.

"Capt. Arnett basically choreographed the process like a symphony," he said. "Our Patrol Lt. Marc Fletcher is very computer savvy and also played a major role in programming each patrol unit and adapting the radio system to our 9-1-1 Call Center.

"Our Telecommunications Supervisors Fonda O’Connor and Sharon Barder were key players in setting up the new system in our Call Center and helped train each dispatcher," Fowler said. "Our success was achieved through their dedication and expertise. We can also track each patrol unit through GPS at any given moment to insure their safety."

Sheriff’s employees prepared for the conversion by arriving early, working late hours and through lunch hours, off the county’s time clock, in order to educate themselves and make a smooth transition.

"I’m very proud of the way our employees pulled together to make this happen," Fowler said. "I couldn’t have asked them to do a better job of working as a team to assist one other. We anticipated several glitches and problems during the conversion. I think we were all surprised at how minor and few kinks there actually were."

Fowler also said minor setbacks can be expected with any major change, and requests the media and public to be patient during the upcoming weeks.

"We place Parker County citizens’ safety first and foremost, and we have their best interests in mind while making improvements to benefit our community," Fowler said.

The Tyler Technologies and Sungard teams stayed at the Sheriff’s Office, setting up a central command center, to be on-hand for any questions and to make any necessary adjustments.

Sheriff’s employees treated them to a homemade pot luck lunch. Team members said they typically stay to help each agency during conversions, but the Sheriff’s Office placed first in hospitality by making them feel welcomed.

"That was our full intention," Fowler said.