File Photo – 911 Dispatch Center | Photo: Jim Bartlett Team Rubicon/BLM for USFS (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Over 40 police and fire departments in Lake County underwent a major 911 technology overhaul and consolidation that officials say improves public safety in the county.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said they worked with the Lake County Emergency Telephone Systems Board (ETSB) and Crowe LLP in 2019 to start the upgrade process of critical technology infrastructure.

The improvements involved multiple key computer-related components used by 911 telecommunicators, first responders, records clerks and employees at public safety entities throughout the county.

Lake County ETSB led the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) portion of the project.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said CAD provides first responders with important information from 911 dispatchers as they respond to emergency calls.

It provides a mapping component, allowing telecommunicators to send the closest first responders to an emergency.

It also allows first responders to research prior call history, view routing options and perform a number of other important functions, Covelli said.

“This system has no barriers, residents and visitors in Lake County will benefit from it,” said Steven Winnecke, Executive Director for the Lake County ETSB.

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“The scope of this project took the time, efforts and expertise of a multitude of individuals and organizations to complete. I feel it is important to acknowledge all involved agencies, Crowe LLP and Tyler Technologies for their unwavering support and partnership,” Winnecke said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office led the Records Management System (RMS), Civil Process Management System, Jail Management System (JMS), E-Citation and E-Crash components of the upgrade.

These components allow public safety agencies to securely store data from emergency calls and securely store official police and fire reports.

Covelli said the technology also streamlines the process of recording information from traffic crashes.

In 2021, Tyler Technologies was awarded two contracts — one from Lake County ETSB and one from Lake County, with the sheriff’s office being the facilitator.

Lake County ETSB and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office invited all Lake County police and fire agencies to join the project, share costs and share electronic services.

“This consolidated electronics system serves over 40 Lake County law enforcement and fire agencies, combining over 15 completely different systems into one, resulting in greater efficiency,” Covelli said.

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The CAD, RMS, E-Citation and E-Crash components were successfully launched on Tuesday for the over participating 40 agencies.

The Civil Process and Judicial Sales were successfully implemented in September. JMS is planned to launch this coming October.

Covelli said the sheriff’s office withdrew last year from plans to physically consolidate its 911 emergency communications center due to what would have resulted in a “significant operational loss” for the sheriff’s office and negatively impacted those living, working or visiting Lake County.

“The sheriff’s office continued with the technology consolidation, which is a tremendous public safety improvement to the community and will cost taxpayers less due to cost sharing and electronic infrastructure improvements,” he said.

Sheriff’s 911 dispatchers will have state-of-the-art technology and will be able to rapidly share crucial information with the over 40 partners involved.

The Lake County Board and the Lake County ETSB Board provided the initial seed money to allow the major projects to move forward.

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“I cannot even begin to describe the hard work that was put into this project by our IT Team, led by Bernard Malkov over the last several years. Bernard along with Steven Winnecke of Lake County ETSB and their teams collaborated with dozens of municipalities that joined this technology consolidation project to be able to share crucial emergency information from 911 callers in real time,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.

“Because so many police and fire agencies are on the same computer system, responders will get information in a much timelier way, which will result in greater efficiency and lives saved,” Idleburg said.

Bernard Malkov, Lake County Sheriff’s IT Director, said he is excited to have the new technology which will help improve efficiencies and operations not just for the sheriff’s office but for other Lake County agencies.

“Close collaboration between the Lake County ETSB, Crowe and our municipal partners was the key to success,” Malkov said.