After a very intense several weeks of updating records, training, creating new policies and procedures and working closely with the Department of Public Safety, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office received a letter from that agency on August 12th to the effect that the LCSO had passed the DPS rigorous audit by 100 percent. It was only a few months ago that Sheriff Bobby Rader was notified by the DPS that the Sheriff’s office had failed their requirements of records security, building security and several other elements in both 2008 and 2011. Due to this fact, there would be a possibility that many of the services governed by the DPS could be withdrawn and, thus, have a negative effect on the agency and its own services. This effort to come into complete compliance with the DPS regulations became an immediate priority with Sheriff Rader.
Due to the fact that much of the criminal history keeping and dispatcher related activities fell under the supervision of Communications Supervisor Sherry Walton and much of the radio and forthcoming usage of Mobile Data Terminals ( MDT) by Deputies fall under the charge of Sgt. Brett Audilet, Sheriff Rader assigned these two the grueling task of bringing the Sheriff’s Office into compliance with all regulations set forth by the Department of Public Safety. This was certainly no easy task as new polices had to be formulated, security of not only the Sheriff’s building but computers and various records put in place and a total change to tighter rules and regulations than what had been expected of personnel in the past.
The DPS regulations set out forty-six major requirements with numerous sub-groups that must be complied with in order to assure legal requirements, security and training of personnel who will have access to such things as criminal history records, reports of various kinds and proper computer training to accomplish the many and varied functions that are dealt with each day in the Sheriff’s Office. Should this audit have failed, such things as accessing criminal history records, the jail being unable to classify inmates and many other functions would have been withheld from the Sheriff’s Office and would have to be obtained through other agencies that were in conformance with the DPS regulations.
With this additional training, upgrading and DPS compliance it will make it possible within this coming year for Deputies to have full computer access with their car mounted Mobile Data Terminals (MDT’S) which will permit them to do, among many other things, run criminal records as well as make their reports from their vehicle. This will save many man hours, gasoline and wear and tear on vehicles as the Deputies can pull over into a safe parking location and do their paperwork rather than drive to one of the annex buildings or the main office to write their reports. They can remain on the streets, still be visible to the public and in their districts for the next call for service. Perhaps one of the outstanding elements of this upgraded equipment is the fact that all of it was paid for by seized drug money and state grants thus not costing the tax payer a cent. In addition, this is an example of what, quite often, the public is unaware of and what it takes “behind the scenes” to keep patrol cars on the streets and answering those calls for service. The many administrative requirement’s such as compliance with the DPS regulations is the hub in which all other elements function around.
One major factor that Sheriff Rader points out is the fact that in addition to the attention and hard work of both Dispatcher Supervisor Sherry Walton and Sgt. Brett Audilet, none of the DPS compliance audit verification could have happened had it not of been for the hard work by EVERYONE within the agency…. Deputies, Corporals, Sergeants, Captains, Detectives, Administration and Dispatchers. The Sheriff commends all the personnel for their “teamwork” approach to this urgent effort which, because of space limitations in this paper still cannot outline ALL the functions and hours spent on bringing the Sheriff’s Office not only into 100% compliance with DPS but even going above and beyond what was actually required. This approach demonstrates the proactive direction of the Sheriff’s Office to address future issues of both management and line-services to the public of which it serves.
From the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office