Beaver Dam Police Report Issues With New Computer System

(Juneau) The Beaver Dam Police and Fire Commission Tuesday night reviewed the results of a survey from the police department on the new countywide records management system. Spillman went live on December 11, linking 18 local municipal law enforcement agencies together.

Among other things, Spillman is used in squad cars for background checks, writing citations and GPS. Back in the office, it’s an administrative tool for not only patrol but also the jail system and dispatch. It replaces New World, a $530-thousand-dollar system the county board approved in September of 2012. New World went live in January of 2014 and was plagued with issues since its launch. In November of 2015, the Dodge County Board approved the purchase of Spillman for $1.1-million dollars.

The survey results from Beaver Dam Police staff indicate that the software is working well for administrative functions back at the station but officers on the street are being met with long delays.  Officers wrote that Spillman is “not user-friendly,” and results in “losing site of the car in front” of them because they are “constantly looking at their computer.” Another officer wrote that they have to find “safe spots so [they] can keep [their] heads in the computer screen.” The training was called “irrelevant.”

Police Chief John Kreuziger says officers on patrol are spending too much time on data entry which could have an impact on public safety. He says it works very well on the records end but there needs to be changes on the patrol end to address safety concerns outlined in the survey. Kreuziger says it is a concern that officers are constantly looking at their computers, navigating through software.

PFC Chair Jeff Kohman minced no words last night in his dissatisfaction with the process. Kohman spoke with other municipalities and found the software works “just fine if it is set up properly.” He says the current situation is that the city has “turned police officers into data entry clerks spending more time on their computer than patrolling streets.” Kohman says the city has not gotten what they bought, they were forced into a contract without being able to provide input and now, he says, “it is not working for us.”

Sheriff Dale Schmidt places any blame on the Beaver Dam Police Department. Schmidt says he has had conversations with police chiefs in other local agencies who have told him that the system has changed law enforcement for the better, allowing them to go paperless and be more efficient. He says there are still things that need to be worked out but the system overall has been a benefit. Schmidt says Beaver Dam is the “only agency  in the county struggling” and he wants to work with the department to correct any errors.

The commission last night agreed by consensus to have the city attorney review the contract with the sheriff’s office, discuss options with the police chief and then hold a special meeting in coming weeks to address the issue.