Each week, we're asking each of the Pinellas County Sheriff candidates a question that's important to you, the voter, so you can be informed come ballot time.
This week, we asked:
How do you see technology playing a role in day-to-day operations and the longterm success of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office?
Technology has and will play a vital role in our continued success and ability to operate at maximum efficiency during these fiscally challenging times. We have innovative and cutting edge computer and technical services professionals on staff who have and will continue to develop and implement proprietary software that is unique to the law enforcement mission. This internal development allows us implement cost saving measures without having to purchase “generic” commercial applications, adapt them to our environment and then pay outrageous yearly fees (required maintenance agreements) to keep the software updated.
Internally developed software has helped us save money and eliminate positions. As an example, when deputies issued a traffic ticket the data had to be manually entered into a computer system by a clerk and then transmitted to the Clerk of Court. Now, when deputies issue a ticket the data is automatically entered into a computer system from the deputy’s cruiser and electronically transmitted to the Clerk of Court without a clerk having to manually enter the data, thus saving time and the cost associated with manual data entry.
Another internally software program called VIPAR allows deputies write their arrest affidavits on the computer and electronically transmit the affidavits to the jail without having to hand write, in some cases, pages and pages of forms. We offered this program to other Pinellas County law enforcement agencies and it is now used throughout Pinellas County as the “standard” for completing these documents.
We recently unveiled a system at the jail whereby family members and friends can now place money in an inmate’s commissary account via a web based program. Previously contributors had to personally go to the jail and make a deposit. We generate revenue through the commissary account as we get a commission on all sales. The commission is used help fund approximately 30 employees at the jail. With the web based program, revenues will increase because money can be deposited 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
These are only a very few examples of the important role technology plays in the Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to maximize technology and use it as way to provide better service while saving for money.
Read more responses from Gualtieri: