Porter County Sheriff's Department


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What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department


Mugshot Software

Cops software checks mugshot

May 21, 2007

BY TOM WYATT Post-Tribune staff writer

Attempting to fool the Porter County police just became more difficult.

The Sheriff's Department has been given the go-ahead to purchase a computer software upgrade from Tiburon that will allow officers in the field access to valuable and perhaps life-saving information.

With Tiburon MobileCOM, officers for the first time will be able to view an on-file mugshot to verify a subject really is who he or she claims to be.   Officers also will have access to local information never before available in the field via computer.   "It's an extra safety measure," Porter County Sheriff David Lain said. "And that's the primary focus, as well as getting as much information out to police officers as possible."   Police view the availability of mugshots in the field as vital. When a person is booked into Porter County Jail from an arrest from any police agency in the county, jailing officers take a head and shoulders photo of the person during booking.  That mugshot remains on file in the Sheriff's Department's computer system. Officers now will be able to view those mugshots from their in-car computers.

If a person who has been pulled over or is suspected of a crime doesn't have proper identification, police now may be able to verify the person's identity.  "It's not uncommon for people to lie about their identity, especially if they're wanted or their license is suspended or they're under age and have been drinking," Porter County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim Emmons said. "If we have access to photos, we can determine who they really are."  Once the officer knows who he or she is dealing with, police work can move forward.

"If your picture pops up, at least we know who we're dealing with," Lain said. "Then we can access other things like jail information and local history that may not show up on a national or state report."

The national and state information comes from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Indiana Data and Communications System (IDACS), respectively. Also available via an officer's in-car computer, that information is helpful, but it may not be as detailed as what can be provided through access to the Sheriff's Department's records system.  That's where the Tiburon upgrade comes in.

"It gives us information on different types of calls and how we've reacted with people in the past," Emmons said. "It's nice to know if you're responding to a call and you can show we've been there four times before for similar types of service. It's going to possibly change the way you'll handle the situation."

The software upgrade will cost about $50,000.   "It's the cost of doing business," Lain said. "We have to stay on the cutting edge."  The funds come through the $1.3 million "signing bonus" from a 2001 contract signed with the U.S. Marshall's Office to hold up to 40 federal prisoners a day at the Porter County Jail.

"This is yet another advantage of having that federal contract," Lain said


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