Sheriff Neil Miller spoke to the group about department updates and technology upgrades. It was 30 years ago that the City of Kearney acquired the building from NPPD. Since then, Buffalo County and the City of Kearney joined forces. Combining their services eliminated the need to double up on areas like Evidence, 911 Centers, Information Technology, and Records. Eliminating the extra manpower and expense redirected those resources towards better training and programs, such as Citizens Academy and Crime Stoppers.
In Buffalo County, the Sheriff is a full-service position including manning the jail, the 911 Center, supervising emergency management in cooperation with his partner, the Police Chief. Three to four corrections officers work the jail 365 days a year, holding anywhere from 140 - 160 inmates a day. Considering the cost of incarceration, to include health care needs, a balance is required to maintain a low occupancy. Most occupants are Kearney residents. Veterans’ courts and Drug Courts allow them to get a shorter term. Categorizing of inmates includes Male/Female, Adult/Juvenile, and Keep Aways (those who are designated dangerous to be paired next to others).
The 911 Dispatch Center is state of the art to better assist locating and getting to those in need quickly. Converting from twenty-two 911 centers to two hosts and twenty remote centers is one of the benefits of engaging in the regionalized method of 911 centers. Now our department can take calls from Minden if their dispatch is shorthanded. Currently, texts are accepted to 911 centers; however, soon, live video and pictures will be capable methods of corresponding to 911 centers to help describe a scene, making it easier to know what services they need. The clarity of service has improved now that we are connected to the 911 Internet IP (internet protocol). Tours were given in the 911 dispatch center. Each of the 4 dispatchers sat in front of eight screens full of different essential information.
Of eight regions, this department was the first to be on the Emergency Services Internet. They partnered with the State of Nebraska to upgrade the radio system and share hosts with them which helps put panic buttons inside schools to give immediate notification to patrol cars with audio ability. By November 1st these radios will be in all the patrol vehicles.
Flock Cameras have been positioned around Kearney to see if a vehicle is stolen or if the vehicle is tied to a warrant out for arrest. The cameras read the plates, then see if that plate number is in the database, if it is not in the database, the number is dumped. They can also detect a car model description. Instant results notify the 911 dispatch that a stolen vehicle was located in a certain area of town, and patrol cars track it down. These cameras will also keep crime away from Kearney once word gets out that we have this technology. For those who do crime, it’s too much of a risk of getting caught. Twenty of these cameras will stay in Kearney, while eight others will be moved to the outside of Kearney.