Sheriff’s Office puts more data online

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
The public now has near-instant access to arrest and incident reports for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Within the past few weeks, more of the Sheriff’s Office data has become available ó and more is coming.
The county spent more than $1 million nearly two years ago for high-tech software that streamlines dispatch of medical, fire and law enforcement personnel and manages record keeping.
Sheriff George Wilhelm told county commissioners at their annual retreat last week that a resident with online access will soon be able to type in an address and get a report on all break-ins or other incidents within a three-mile radius of their home.
And the system is allowing the sheriff’s department to change how it responds to calls.
For years, deputies have been assigned to zones and respond within the designated area.
By fully using the software that tracks the patrol cars, the closest car will now be sent, regardless of the deputy’s assigned zone.
Wilhelm said the system, called OSSI (Open Software Solutions), has worked better than he ever thought it would.
“You’ve done the county well,” he told commissioners.
The changeover and increased flow of data has been in the works for almost three years. In June 2006, commissioners agreed to spend $1.3 million on updating the computer-aided dispatch system used by E-911 and provide an overall system for deputies to use on laptops in their cars to access warrants, arrest records and jail logs.
Commissioner approved the first purchase of OSSI software in October 2006, totaling $800,749.
While the public element is now available, the county’s law enforcement and emergency services have reaped the benefits for months. Features include detailed mapping displayed on the 911 terminals, including location of response units.
“It’s remarkable what we can do,” Wilhelm told commissioners. “You have made it so much easier.”
Wilhelm went on to reflect on his nearly 10 years as sheriff. “For seven years, commissioners were not very good to me. … The last couple of years, you’ve helped out with equipment and employees. Commissioners have been great.”
Daily arrest and incident reports can be accessed by going to the Rowan County Web site (, going under “Departments” and clicking on the Sheriff’s Office. Under the photo of Sheriff Wilhelm, click on “Sheriff’s Office OSSI.”
On that page, several choices are available, including an active warrant list, daily incidents and charges.
The site also allows reports of minor incidents to be filed online.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.