Push County crimefighters get tech boost from community - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Push County crimefighters get tech boost from community

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PUSHMATAHA COUNTY, Okla. -- The Pushmataha County Sheriff's Office is battling to stay ahead of the latest technology when it comes to booking in inmates and handling 911 calls.

Jail administrators, deputies, and detention officers currently use pen and paper to book inmates, and dispatchers are writing down crucial and potentially life-saving information to get help to the person on the line.

"We do everything the old fashioned way," county jail Detention Officer Pattie Erwin explained. "Everything we do is by hand."

What is a 15-minute process of booking in an inmate elsewhere takes Pushmataha County employees 45 minutes.

"We take down all their personal information, their charges, emergency contacts, all medical that they have to deal with," Erwin said. 

The sheriff department's computer system is outdated. Erwin said the system they have often crashes, losing whatever information they've entered.

"When you've got two or three people standing in here, it takes up too much of your time," she said. "As a detention officer, you're also taking care of the inmates you already have."

And that's on top of handling fingerprint duties and emergency calls.

"My main concerns with this 911 system that doesn't work is that I'm sending the deputy to the wrong place, or giving him the wrong directions to get somewhere," Erwin added.

The Antlers Rotary Club is working to end that frustration. They've been doing fundraisers to collect $3,500 to update the county's technology.

"We've seen [Sheriff] B.J. [Hedgecock] as force of change for this area," said Rotary Club spokeswoman Deanna Blount. "We feel like by helping him, we're helping everybody."

"The support has been tremendous," Sheriff Hedgecock said. "I want to thank them. People went out of their way to make sure we had body cameras, Tasers for the deputies...it's helped a bunch."

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has donated a live scan to the department. The Rotary Club is just under $800 from reaching its goal to get the department's computer system replaced.

Anyone wanting to donate can get in touch with the Rotary Club or drop it by the sheriff's office in Antlers.