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EPSO gets technology grant that could change operations

Posted at 1:23 PM, May 16, 2019

The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office has won a grant that could change the way deputies do their work.

The grant, which EPSO has been working on for two years, will provide the agency with hardware and software for accounting, reports and tickets, said Mike Fontenot, the chief administrator.

“This is going to get us on to an accounting software, instead of using Quickbooks. It’s a big, big deal for this place,” Fontenot said. “It also brings in traffic and court fines, which helps get reporting out a whole lot quicker.”

Fontenot said the grant, which was made by the Louisiana Supreme Court, has covered new computers for the EPSO, and places laptops in patrol officers’ vehicles.

“They swapped out all the computers here and bought accounting software, and now we will be able to enter data – the District Attorney, the Sheriff’s Office, the Clerk of Court – it ties in communications between all of us,” Fontenot said. “We also were able to get the eFORCE software, that will integrate all operations on the law enforcement side: dispatch, records, investigations, all in one single software system.”

The upgrade for officers will be huge, he said.

“eFORCE is really user friendly, and report writing is very very easy,” he said. “This is something that’s going to be a whole lot easier. All forms will be in there. Officers can do reporting at the scene, in real time, so anybody else on the system can see. It’s really needed.”

The Sheriff’s Office rewired the courthouse, and connected to fiber, to get ready for the installation, Fontenot said. It’s going to be life-changing for the deputies, he said.

“We’re going from using something that’s almost antique to having something that can be completely integrated,” he said. “This will give us the opportunity to connect with other departments, and share information within the system.

Fontenot said deputies already were working on the grant when he was hired in June 2017, and he’s been working on it ever since.

“It took a really long time, but it was worth it,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a big plus, it will be huge for the department by making life a whole lot easier. This will allow us to work smarter, not harder.”