WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Wichita Falls city councilors are set to award a bid for a new software system that will benefit first responders.
The search for a new software system began two years ago when the city’s information technology department and the Wichita Falls Police Department realized their current records management system was reaching its end of life after running into several problems.
“Over the last twelve years technology has grown tremendously where our system had a little bit to grow and we’ve out grown the system,” said WFPD Lt. Sam Coltrain.
The now outdated system, was first put to use in 2006. Since then it’s crashed and has lost connection several times hinting to the department it was time for an upgrade.
"We talked to all other agencies our size and bigger in Texas to see what they were using, what was out there," said Lt. Coltrain. "We visited a lot of agencies to kind of get an idea of what would be best for our city."
In the spring, the city was able to narrow down the list of seven vendors to three, and eventually decided on TriTech Software Systems. The million dollar software is being used right now in Bryan, Texas, and also by departments in Minnesota, and Tennessee.
“The big thing that probably pushed us over the edge was the mapping ability,” said Lt. Coltrain. “The new system can really focus in on the qualities of our GIS system here through our IT section. When you have a really good mapping system everything else really falls in place especially out of dispatch.”
Because verifying an address during an emergency as fast as possible is key. The contract with TriTech software system would include multiple platforms which Lt. Coltrain said will benefit officers in the field.
“I think we’re going to see some significant gains on officers times getting back on the street,” said Lt. Coltrain. “From writing reports or doing paper work. So, if we can save ten minutes per call, or ten minutes per report [keep in mind] we’re taking 3,000 reports a month, then that’s a lot of time that officers are back on patrol.”
Once awarded, the installation of TriTech will start at the beginning of the year but it won’t be until this time next year when its expected to be up and running. The new system is being funded through the City of Wichita Falls IT service fund, which is money saved for the project.
Lt. Coltrain said they’ve also applied for a grant to try to help cover some of the cost but won’t know if they get it until the end of October.