By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
On Monday, June 23 at the regular meeting of the Caledonia city council, the council voted to approve an upgrade of their computer systems and software contingent upon the county board doing the same.
On Tuesday, June 24, Scott Yeiter came before the county commissioners to make a similar request.
The board heard a power point presentation from Yeiter regarding the communication software and hardware upgrades.
“I’m not asking for full approval right now,” noted Yeiter. “What I would like to do is enter into negotiations with LETG.” (the company who would provide the software and technical training needed for the upgrade).
Yeiter noted that the current system is 30 years old. In many cases, he said, the dispatch office doesn’t even know where his officers are located.
“So if they go in the ditch somewhere off a county road, we wouldn’t even be able to find them,” he said.
The system the county is proposing to upgrade is one that Mower, Fillmore and Winona counties just went online with.
LETG is a Minnesota based company and employs former cops who aren’t just computer programers, but know what they’d like to see out of the service.
Another feature of interest is that the system can communicate across law enforcement agencies and different components of the legal process.
“So from 9-1-1 call to conviction this system can communicate throughout the process,” said Yeiter.
The system is expected to cost the county $190,748 with an annual service contract of $28,398. Cities within Houston County would be able to log onto the server, which would be located at the courthouse, and access information across departments.
The individual cities would also incur some costs depending on their sizes.
Caledonia estimated that to fit their vehicles it would be about $27,000 or $9,000 per squad car.
In the power-point that Yeiter presented, Caledonia’s cost read $16,559 for installation and $2,765 per year for service and maintenance.
The county board authorized Yeiter to move forward and work through the bidding process.
He expected the next 30-60 days would be spent working with representatives from LETG on securing funding and coming to an agreement on a price.
The reason Yeiter wanted the vote to occur yet this June, Winona County put Houston County on their Request for Proposal which saved the county time and money. However, that RFP was only good until the end of June.