Sheriff's Office applying for grant to enhance incident reporting, stats

Published on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 16:17 - Written by FAITH HARPER,

The Smith County Sheriff’s Office will apply for a state grant to update its technology infrastructure, which would improve the county's data collection and analysis of crime stats and trends.

On Tuesday, the Smith County Commissioners Court approved a resolution of support for the department to apply for a $53,000 grant with the criminal division of the Texas Governor’s Office.

The department will send off the grant paperwork to the state by Monday, and know if it received the funds in the spring. If the county is approved, there will be no required matching funds.

The funds will allow the county to purchase two expansion packs to its Spillman software, which is the system used by dispatch and deputies.

The new system would allow the county to keep better records of the calls it goes on for statistical analysis.

Chief Deputy Robert Carlson said the grant also would allow the department to comply with House Bill 11, passed in the 84th Texas Legislature.

A portion of the bill updated the method state agencies use to send incident reports to Texas Department of Public Safety, he said.

There are two reporting systems used in the state. The one currently used by Smith County is the Summary Reporting System. It is the original reporting system, created in 1927, Carlson told Commissioners Tuesday. That system allows the county to break crimes down into eight categories.

If the grant comes through, the county would move to the Incident-Based Reporting System. That system allows agencies to break 24 offenses down into 52 subcategories. Other data entered allows agencies to better connect crimes by victim, offender or location.

House Bill 11 has a goal of transitioning the entire state to the newer reporting system by 2019.

Twitter: @TMTFaith