HALLOWELL — The Hallowell Police Department will be able to replace its antiquated records management system thanks to a federal grant.

The new software the department will use is common in Maine and will allow city officers to share information easily with other law enforcement agencies, according to Police Chief Eric Nason.

The department received a $19,070 Department of Homeland Security grant that will cover the software purchase, installation, training and two years of maintenance for a program from California-based TriTech Software Systems.

The city will have to pay for a fiber optic line at City Hall. Nason said he is requesting site surveys from possible providers and does not yet have a cost estimate.

Nason said the department’s records management system has been in place since the early or mid-1990s.

When the department replaces computers, it needs to install old operating systems to remain compatible with the records software. It can’t update charges to reflect changes in criminal code.

When someone requests a report, Hallowell officers send them through fax or the mail, because they can’t email them, Nason said.

“We need to be able to communicate with other police agencies,” he said. “Problems usually occur in multiple communities, in multiple jurisdictions. We should be better equipped to know who and what we’re dealing with because we have names and addresses from other agencies.”

TriTech spokeswoman Cheri Lane said 69 law enforcement agencies in Maine use their company’s systems.

One of those is the Augusta Police Department, which has used a TriTech program since 1998 for records and dispatch, Lt. Chris Reed said. Augusta police dispatch for Hallowell.

Reed said the software allows law enforcement agencies to access each other’s information easily.

That might come in handy, for example, when arresting someone for a domestic assault. A cross-agency check could reveal previous convictions that could increase the severity of the charge or affect bail decisions, Reed said.

“It’s good that they want to upgrade their system, and this is going to help them out in the long run,” Reed said. “It’s a user-friendly system, compared to others I’ve used over the years.”

Nason said he hopes to figure out the city’s fiber optics options so that installation and training can take place before activity ramps up in the summer. If not, the switch may have to wait until fall.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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