New software may become latest local crime-fighting tool

System will bring all law enforcement agencies together

Every deputy sheriff and city police officer in Webster County would have instant access to information on things like suspects known to carry weapons, thanks to a new computer system law enforcement leaders are pushing to implement.

“This is going to make us all come together,” Fort Dodge Police Chief Roger Porter told the City Council Monday.

The software is called Zuercher Record Management System and it’s made by Zuercher Technologies LLC, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Its $274,788 cost is to be shared by Fort Dodge, Webster County, the Webster County 911 Board, Dayton, Duncombe, Gowrie and Otho.

On Monday, the council approved the city’s $62,588 share of the cost.

“It’s a great system,” Mayor Matt Bemrich said. “It’s definitely worth the investment.”

He said the software was developed by former law enforcement officers.

Porter said the computer system now used by the city police is “a little antiquated.”

He described the Zuercher software as an “all-encompassing” record management system.

Currently, each law enforcement agency has its own data system, according to Police Lt. Matt Lundberg. He said the Webster County Sheriff’s Department uses some portions of the Zuercher system.

Lundberg said the use of the system will improve the safety of officers and deputies by giving them up-to-date information on people who are known to pose a threat to law enforcement personnel and those who are known to carry weapons.

He said the system can also provide information on known hazards at specific locations.

Having all agencies on the same system will save time and eliminate duplication of effort, according to Lundberg. For example, he said information on suspects now logged at the Webster County Jail has to be entered separately into the Fort Dodge Police Department’s records.

Porter said installing the system will enable his department to eliminate the police operations clerk position that became vacant last summer when Cheryl Hurdel retired after 39 years of service.

Lundberg said the system can be expanded to add other agencies, like the Fort Dodge Fire Department.

He said he has talked to officers from other departments that use the system, and they all said the Zuercher Technologies LLC is “very good” about fixing problems.

Councilman Jeff Halter was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote to purchase the system.