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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Imagine the benefit to the Colfax Police Department to access information about calls for service from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department and the UW-Stout Police Department.
The Colfax Village Board approved purchasing Zuercher Technologies software that will allow the Colfax Police Department to be part of the Dunn County communications system at a cost of $5,460 at the December 10 meeting.
The county has a new communications system, and the Colfax Police Department has never been tied into the county’s system, said Colfax Police Chief William Anderson.
Dunn County is switching from the Visions system to Zuercher, and the Visions system is more expensive, he noted.
With the new software, Colfax police officers will be able to access the county’s calls as well as UW-Stout’s calls and the information from the old in-house system would still be available as well, Police Chief Anderson said.
If there is a problem while he is off-duty, Police Chief Anderson said with the new system, he would be able to pull up information on the computer to find out what is going on.
If Colfax police officers pull someone over now for a traffic stop, for example, the only information they have is whether the Colfax Police Department has had prior contact with the person but not whether other law enforcement agencies have had contact with the person, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.
The beauty of the Zuercher system is that if a Colfax police officer has contact with someone the officer is not familiar with, the officer can pull up the name, and even if the contact was with UW-Stout, the officer would still be able to obtain information, Police Chief Anderson said.
The process of installing the Zuercher system will begin in January, and the project is expected to be completed by June or July, he said.
The Boyceville Police Department has signed onto the system, and at the moment, only Colfax and Elk Mound are not tied into Dunn County, he said.
Although Elk Mound is not technically tied into the Dunn County system just yet, the Elk Mound Village Board approved purchasing the Zuercher software at the December 5 village board meeting.
The software does have an annual maintenance fee of $651, Police Chief Anderson noted, with an initial cost of $5,460.
Half of the money must be paid up front in January, and once Colfax is actually using the system, the balance will be due, Police Chief Anderson said.
Village Trustee Keith Burcham wondered if the police department’s current computer system meets the specifications to run the Zuercher software.
If the computer system needs an upgrade, the upgrade will be supplied to Colfax, Police Chief Anderson said.
Colfax would have been notified by now if the computer system was not adequate, Niggemann said.
The money for the Zuercher software is not in the 2019 budget, she noted, adding that the question would be how to pay for the software.
Niggemann suggested the money could come from the capital improvement budget.
The capital improvement budget has extra money — $9,000 — that is not designated, she said.
The maintenance fee will increase by five percent per year, noted Mark Halpin, village trustee.
The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved buying into the Zuercher Technologies communication system and to pay for the installation by transferring money to the police department from the capital improvement fund.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a training request for Colfax Police Chief William Anderson for the Law Enforcement Management Conference January 14-17 at Barker’s Island in Superior. Police Chief Anderson said he would ride with the Bloomer police chief so there would be no mileage or gasoline expense for Colfax.
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Delores Ashley Springer from December 10 to June 30, 2019, (A Little Slice of Italy).
• Approved an updated “master contract” with Ayres Associates. The master contract will be updated for each project Ayres completes for the village.
• Approved replacing the village’s existing Bobcat with a T590 T4 Bobcat Compact Track Loader from Bobcat Plus in Chippewa Falls for a total payment of $4,900. The total cost of the Bobcat is $67,267. The village will receive a trade-in of $39,348 for the existing unit and a discount of $23,808 to reach the total of $4,900. The Department of Public Works equipment plan includes trading in equipment regularly so the village always has equipment that is under warranty.
• Approved an updated fee schedule that does not actually include any changes in fees because the fees have already been approved by the village board. Gary Stene, village president, asked the other village board members to think about the possibility of changing the street opening fee again. Previously, the street opening fee was $1,000, but the village board recently approved the “actual cost” as the fee. In Stene’s opinion, the fee should be shared by all taxpayers as part of the public good instead of assessing, for example, $5,000 to one homeowner who might not be able to afford to pay it. The people who live on streets that have recently been reconstructed will most likely never have to pay a street opening fee for fixing sewer or water problems, Stene said. All of the taxpayers in the village paid for the new streets where the homeowners will likely not have to pay a street-opening fee.
• Approved holding a village board meeting on December 17. The village board’s second monthly meeting would have normally been held on December 24.