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New Software to Improve Missoula Criminal Justice System

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MISSOULA -

City and county departments install a $1.5 million piece of software to streamline the Missoula criminal justice system.

The city and county launched the new system on Monday.

Officials said by placing all departments on the same program, the software will save the city and county a lot of time and money.

"It really is a change to the system, pretty much from the time you call 911 until the call is completed and ends up at either a county attorney or city attorney's office," said Director of Emergency Services Chris Lounsbury.

Lounsbury said previously, city and county departments each used their own records management system.

"So, this new system actually brings that under one piece of software and under one database," he said.

Lounsbury said the software allows dispatchers to organize information gathered from a 911 call into one report.

"And for the first time, officers or fire trucks will actually be able to see that out in their apparatus on their own computers," he said.

"Streamlining is a good way to describe it," said Missoula Police Detective Sergeant Travis Welsh.

Welsh said officers in the field will also get real-time updates on their computers if dispatch gets more details after the initial call.

He added, "A few keystrokes on his MDT, which is in his car, and the jail has all the information they need to book that person in."

The new program also allows officers to search the new database for suspects based on just physical characteristics, rather than by their name and social security number.

"It gets the officer back out in the field that much quicker, ready for the next call," Welsh added.

Lounsbury said the Office of Emergency Management and police and sheriff's departments received $800,000 in grants from the Department of Justice for the new system.

"The police department and sheriff's departments have what's known as asset forfeiture funds that they were able to use to cover the rest of that cost," he said.

Lounsbury said it also costs less to run the one new program than it did to run the individual programs from each department.

The online public report and jail roster are currently offline as the new system updates, but they should be back up within the next two weeks.

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