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Fox Point OKs new police records management software

Attorney raises questions on agreement between NS communities

Jan. 9, 2013

Fox Point - Contract language is still being hammered out, but village officials on Tuesday agreed to provide funding toward new records management software for the Fox Point Police Department.

In another example of ongoing efforts to share services, the seven North Shore communities in Milwaukee County have been working in recent months to reach a consensus and purchase police records management software.

"Since all of the police departments and the North Shore Fire Department use the Bayside Communications Center, it makes sense for all of these agencies to use the same software," said Tom Czaja, Fox Point police chief and interim village manager.

Village and city managers have been working in recent months to devise a formula for each community's contribution toward a one-time project cost, annual maintenance and service and capital contributions.

During a nearly hourlong debate of the issue Tuesday, the Fox Point Village Board agreed to fund $100,120 toward the one-time project cost and maintenance and service costs in 2013.

Term, services not spelled out

But other issues, including a memorandum of understanding, are still being worked out - in Fox Point, at least. The other six North Shore municipalities have signed off on the memorandum of understanding document and have pledged all of the financial contributions outlined in a table.

Village Attorney Eric Larson, whose only North Shore municipality of representation is Fox Point, said he had several concerns about the memorandum of understanding as it was drafted.

"The document is silent as to the term of the agreement; I recommend that the term be specified," Larson said. "The scope of services described in the document is also insufficient, in my opinion."

The board wrangled back and forth about tabling the entire issue, but Czaja said time was of the essence in bringing Fox Point into the fray of purchasing the software. The agreement for the existing software expires at the end of March.

"There's a possibility they could move along without us," Czaja said of the other six participating communities. "We could be on our own, and if we are on our own, I have no idea of what would happen."

Could be left out

Czaja said a lack of participation would prevent Fox Point from sharing records with the other North Shore communities - a scenario deemed challenging for agencies that have close working relationships.

Although she voted in favor of the initial financial contributions, Trustee Christine Symchych was among the board members concerned about contributing financially without an agreement in place.

"I wonder why we'd authorize paying for this without an agreement in place," Symchych said.

For his part, Larson said he believed sufficient changes could be made to the document in a short period of time, though a question of whether the other six communities needed to sign and deliberate on a revised memorandum of understanding did loom during Tuesday's discussion.

"I don't think you're going to see anything terribly different," Larson said. "(The agreement) will touch on the basics, but the basics will be made clearer."

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