Washington County data sharing program working well for police

Posted Feb. 02, 2011, at 8:09 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 03, 2011, at 12:14 p.m.

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — An information sharing system between the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Baileyville Police Department has been working extremely well, officials reported this week.

The Washington County Records Management system is a centralized file system for all data on arrests, convictions, interactions, names, addresses and more. Every contact with a person by a sheriff’s deputy is logged into the system. Under a six-month agreement and for a $500 fee, Baileyville police now can tap into the of-fice’s reports.

“We are enjoying it immensely,” Baileyville Police Chief Shawn Donahue said Wednesday. “It has so many good features.” One that he particularly likes is the ability to tag a person’s page of information with a caution button. “This is really an eye-opener as an officer safety issue.”

Donahue said there are so many officers working different shifts in Washington County that they are not always able to share pertinent information. “We’re just too busy to sit down over coffee and breakfast anymore,” he said. “But let’s face it. A drug dealer in Baileyville is a drug dealer in Calais.”

The sharing program is working so well that the town of Milbridge is now using it on a trial basis.

“This is what the entire country is moving to under Homeland Security,” Washington County Deputy Chief Michael St. Louis said Wednesday. “The sharing of information is a real priority.” He said he’d like to see all other county law enforcement agencies — Indian Township, Machias, Pleasant Point, Eastport and Calais — jump on board.

The system is not sophisticated but works very well, he said. “Every complaint we have is logged into the system,” St. Louis said. “The system will tell a person’s address, telephone number, accurate name and date of birth, and any and all previous contacts, including criminal activity.”

Baileyville officers also enter into the system any new information on contacts that they make.

“The Maine State Police have a system in place that is now being shared with some counties,” he said. “I’d like to get to that point, but first we’d like to get all the Washington County agencies on board first.” Since the system is already in place, St. Louis said it simply is a matter of adding an agency once it obtains its own li-cense. The $1,000 annual fee helps pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the county’s system.

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