Montgomery County Invests $2M in Modernizing Law Enforcement, Bolsters County-wide Data Sharing

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NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners has greenlit funding for up to 17 municipal police departments to join the county-wide Record Management System (RMS).

This initiative, championed by the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, will allow more municipal police departments to opt into a shared records system, facilitating better information sharing and fostering a more effective public safety response across the county.

Jamila H. Winder, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, expressed her enthusiasm for the initiative: “This move allows for better information sharing, leading to a more effective public safety response county-wide with an eye for equitable outcomes.”

The investment, totaling nearly $2 million, is part of a broader county effort to update outdated systems and utilize data more effectively in law enforcement decision-making. As noted by Neil K. Makhija, Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, some of the current records systems date back to the 1980s.

“Law enforcement will be able to use better data to make better decisions. All Montgomery County residents will benefit when law enforcement is fully coordinated,” Makhija said.

In 2016, the county approved covering the onboarding costs for 31 municipalities to opt into the system. The shared system proved beneficial for the municipalities, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Sheriff’s Office, offering county-wide data records and insights into public safety. Now, following renewed interest from other municipalities, the County extended the offer to fund onboarding for up to 17 additional police departments to join the RMS.

District Attorney Kevin R. Steele spoke about the importance of transparency and informed decision-making in law enforcement during a public comment at the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners meeting. “Sharing information with the public is our goal; an expanded RMS helps us analyze crime trends and be strategic in fighting crime,” Steele said.

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Michael Vest, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, echoed this sentiment. “We all want law enforcement to be able to fulfill their duties efficiently and accurately. With more potential municipalities using the county-wide RMS, we will be able to better protect the public’s safety, officer safety, and increase efficiency and equity in law enforcement.”

The approved cost for onboarding an additional 17 municipal departments is $1.8 million. The total cost will depend on the number of departments that choose to participate. While the County covers the cost of initial onboarding, the recurring annual maintenance is paid by the individual municipal departments.

This investment in modernizing law enforcement reflects Montgomery County’s commitment to improving public safety through better data usage and coordination across law enforcement agencies. As this initiative unfolds, residents can look forward to seeing a more efficient, equitable, and data-informed approach to maintaining public safety in their communities.

VIDEO: January 25, 2024 – Board of Commissioners Meeting

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