The Information Services Unit (OCIS) provides the Sheriff's Office with electronic and data services and support, including network, computer, telephone, cell phone, operating programs and radio services.
The first department computer was an IBM 8086 that included a huge 20 MB hard disk. The initial goal was to computerize Patrol and Criminal investigation paperwork and begin an incident database. The incident database enabled the records unit to better track complaints and arrests for the Sheriff’s Department. Tracking was interrupted in 1987, when a hard disk crash wiped out all the complaint information data; but the crash did provide a valuable lesson on the importance of data backup. The incident database was started anew and contains data from 1988 to the present.
In 1988, the department installed two Novell Local Area Networks (LANs) to service Law Enforcement and Jail needs. The Novell networks provided uninterrupted service until the year 2003, when they were replaced by newer technology.
In 1989, a Jail Management System was installed that utilized the county Unisys Mainframe located in the county office building. The link from the county mainframe was integrated into the two LANs at the Sheriff's Department, and provided seamless access to jail information from all department computers. This original jail management system was designed to last 10 years, with an expected replacement date of 1997-1998. However, with upgrades made to handle the transition to the year 2000, the system remained fully functional until 2001 when OCIS installed the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ jail management system (JMS) that is provided to counties at no cost. The software was developed under contract at Griffiss Technology Park.
In late 1990, the first Laptop computer was purchased for use by members of the Criminal Investigation Unit. Up until this time, complainants, witnesses, and suspects had to be transported to the Law Enforcement Building in order to type their statements. With the purchase of a laptop computer, investigators could now take typewritten statements in the field and prepare necessary reports for court without having to return to the LEB. In 1991, additional laptop computers were issued to investigators.
In 1993, three laptops were purchased for use by Uniform Patrol Deputies. Nine Deputies were selected to share these computers over three shifts, and the Deputies took the laptops on patrol. This enabled the deputies to remain within their patrol zone while typing paperwork. In addition, much of the paperwork involved the writing of redundant information on different forms. The computer allowed one time entry of information that could be printed out on the proper forms at the end of the deputy’s shift. Two additional laptop computers were added in 1994.
In 1995, OCIS began sharing technology and services with the New Hartford Town Police Department. This began the sharing of services with agencies throughout Oneida and adjoining counties. The computer services provided through OCIS include standardized forms processing; members of participating police departments can complete various legal forms and department documents from any participating police department’ computers.
In August 1996, the Sheriff's Department Internet Web Site went online. The site provides information on the History, Structure, Division and Units of the department.
The year 2000 brought about the final year for DOS computers at the Sheriff’s Department. Local and internet e-mail services and addresses are now available to department members who need them.
The Civil Division is completely computerized in 2001. A $30,000.00 federal grant provides desktop computers, a new server, and a Civil database program. Several hundred years of ledger entries are now only history.
During the year 2002, laptop computers and printers are mounted in all uniform patrol vehicles. The laptops are equipped with a printer and mobile data terminal software. The laptops are linked by an EDACS radio system to the New Hartford Police Department 911 Center (Central Dispatch). This link provides deputies with the ability to communicate with both New Hartford dispatchers and other patrol units via electronic messaging. Deputies are able to type in vehicle stop locations, including plate numbers, current “in or out” of the car status, and general complaint investigation locations, all of which are displayed in real time at the New Hartford Communications Center and in each car equipped with a mobile data terminal. Real time connection is provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles for vehicle registrations and driver's license information. Deputies can check for Wants and Warrants with the N.Y.S. Division of Criminal Justice Services and the FBI National Crime Information Center without the need for dispatcher intervention. If a vehicle or person is listed as wanted, the system automatically alerts to all Sheriff and New Hartford Patrols. The New Hartford 911 Communications Center provides a “live” dispatcher and checks the patrol’s status when active hits are received. The patrol vehicle has become a true “mobile office”, allowing deputies more hours in the field each day.
On September 20, 2002, OCIS completes implementation of an Identification Card system. The system is utilized to produce employee and public identification cards, and the identifying information and photos are captured and integrated into existing databases. Card design, graphics, system setup, and database integration are handled by OCIS staff.
In 2003, inspired by Microsoft’s magazine and television advertisements, OCIS embarks on a department-wide implementation of Windows 2000 and Active Directory. On July 4th and 5th, 2003, all department network servers are successfully upgraded, by OCIS staff without vender assistance. According to the advertisements, this upgrade will save the county $Millions… By the end of the year, all desktop computers are upgraded and running on Windows 2000 or XP.
Many projects are in the works for 2004 and beyond. The department website is in the midst of a complete information update and structure modernization. With the term “Oneida County Sheriff’s Office” becoming the organizations official title, an agency-wide update of forms and graphics is necessary. Net enabled applications and a new Law Enforcement data system are being researched and tested. An upgrade to Windows 2003 Server is in its early planning stages. Implementation of an in-vehicle, computerized traffic ticket system is awaiting integration into other existing technologies.