The police department also used its personnel management software to quickly access employee information, contact personnel who were needed to respond to the disaster, and check on the safety and welfare of city employees affected by the storm.
Oxford County, Maine
In Maine, personnel at the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office recently relied on their public safety software system to help them respond to a very different type of emergency situation.
On July 25, 2011, one person was killed and another fatally injured when domestic violence escalated into an execution-style shooting in New Gloucester, Maine. State troopers’ only clues to the suspect’s identity stemmed from the comments of a six-year-old witness to the crime.
Oxford County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff George Cayer was on patrol when he heard a Maine State Police trooper announce that they were looking for a suspect possibly named Joe Hayden, driving a black Cadillac-style vehicle.
“The trooper was getting his information from a six-year-old witness. [Details about the incident were] pretty vague, and [the call was] chaotic with the children crying in the background over the trooper’s radio,” Cayer said.
Using the agency’s mobile software, Cayer searched for the name “J* Hayden” in the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office’s database. The software allows field officers to search for images and information on names, incidents, vehicles, and property without leaving their vehicle or requesting dispatch assistance.
Cayer immediately received responses for four matching records, one for Joel Hayden. Hayden, suspected of armed drug trafficking, had been entered into the system by Cayer in 2008. Hayden also matched the suspect’s physical description and had an alert attached to his record to signify to authorities that he was an armed drug dealer.
“Based on that information, we knew he was probably going to be the suspect in the Gray shooting,” said Cayer.
Cayer was then able to contact one of the responding state troopers to give him the suspect’s name and a description of the vehicle Hayden was driving in 2008. He also passed along a mug shot of Hayden that had been stored in Oxford County’s system.
“Within an hour of the shooting it was clear that we had identified the suspect. Our agency often assists the Maine State Police, Troop B units in Oxford County. This is just one example of how this technology works,” Cayer said.
After leading Maine State Police on a 20-minute car chase, Hayden crashed his vehicle into a ditch and surrendered to authorities. He was charged with two counts of murder.
As Tuscaloosa and Oxford County personnel discovered, a good public safety software system can make all the difference when it comes to communicating in an emergency situation and having quick access to critical information. Although you never know what challenges you might face in the line of duty, you can be sure that with the right software, you will be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.