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Sheriff's department set to use GIS

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BENTON -- The Scott County Sheriff's Department will begin taking advantage of the county's GIS.

During their regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners authorized the purchase of two copies of the editing software for the county's geographic information system, one copy for a laptop and the other for a desktop workstation.

Lt. Jerry Bledsoe of the Sheriff's Department explained the reader software, which is provided for the county's computers at no charge, is not allowing staff at the Sheriff's Department to access some information.

The editing software costs about $1,200 per machine, according to County Assessor Teresa Houchin.

The GIS, which overlays information graphically over an aerial photography map, was originally purchased primarily for use by the Assessor's Office but has a wide variety of information layers and applications that can be used by other county offices.

The Sheriff's Department will initially use the GIS to determine if registered sex offenders are residing far enough away from schools, Bledsoe said.

Convicted sex offenders are required by law to reside no closer than 1,000 feet of schools and day care centers, according to Bledsoe. "Right now, somebody has to bring it to our attention and I have to go measure it," he said.

Other possible uses for the Sheriff's Department include using the GIS to view crime trends, to view property ownership, to locate residences for search warrants and for investigative purposes, Bledsoe said.

"It will help us in several different ways," he said.

"I think it's a great idea," Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said.

For the time being, the Sheriff's Department will receive GIS data updates on CDs every three months or so.

Eventually the Sheriff's Department will get a network connection to the main GIS database.

In related business, Houchin said she would like to see the aerial photography for Haywood City updated with a finer resolution.

She explained the county urban areas are photographed in half-foot resolution at 100 feet of altitude while rural areas are photographed at 400 feet.

Haywood City "never has been mapped right," Houchin. "I want that corrected."

She said the cost for the new aerial photography for Haywood City will be $2,000.

Houchin said she is also working with the county's GIS vendor on various other small mapping corrections.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners appointed Mark Kluesner of Oran as one of Scott County's regular members on the SEMO Port Authority board.

Kluesner was formerly on the board as the "swing" member whose appointment alternates between Cape Girardeau County and Scott County every two years.

Kluesner will finish up the term of Harold Ulesman of Scott City which expires at the end of the year and then begin a full four-year term.

Commissioners also appointed Scott Sanders of Commerce to fill Kluesner's unexpired term as the swing member. That term has just over a year left as Cape Girardeau County commissioners will make an appointment to that position in January 2008.