Sheriff's department honored for use of geographic info system technolgy

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Analysis and Information Unit, chosen from more than 100,000 organizations, was honored last week for its innovative use of geographic information system technology.
The Special Achievement in GIS award ceremony took place at the 22nd Annual Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) International User Conference in San Diego, which was attended by several thousand GIS users.
Jared Erickson, Pierce County GIS technology specialist, accepted the award on behalf of the Sheriff’s Department and Information Services/GIS.
Pierce County’s Geographic Information Services has assisted the Sheriff’s Department in developing software applications and systems that support business processes and improve service to the public.
Sheriff Paul Pastor said the crime analysis unit’s accomplishments are a source of pride within the department.
“I am confident that as the citizens of Pierce County become aware of the public safety gains we are achieving because of our use of technology, they will be very pleased,” he said. “More and more we are seeing the value of this type of support and information as we transition to being an information-based policing agency,” he said.
Formed five years ago under a U.S. Department of Justice grant, the crime analysis unit has been able to access information and spatial data and notify the public more quickly, improve officer safety, and be more responsive to the community as a result of its GIS implementation.
Deputies can quickly create customized crime statistics and maps for small geographical areas, allowing them to work in a community-oriented fashion and see how their efforts are affecting the crime percentages in certain areas.
The unit is supervised by Det. Sgt. Tony Berger and includes two civilian crime analysts.
Its expertise is recognized regionally and frequently receives both technical and conceptual questions from other police agencies.
The department has used GIS technology to create a number of Internet applications.
CrimeStar allows deputies to use wireless modems to search for and display crime data geographically.
Another Internet application is a public Web site that allows people to list registered sex offenders within a half-mile of a given address.
The Sex Offender Verification Web site has helped police enforce the required verification of sex offenders.
Other organizations being honored at the 2002 User Conference include Verizon Wireless, the New York City Office of Emergency Management, the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism, Skyguide Swiss Air Navigation Services, City of Vienna, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources and Conservation Service, Jefferson County Public School District, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
ESRI, the world leader in GIS software, recognizes organizations that provide substantial benefits to society through their use of GIS technology.
“I am thrilled to see our users apply GIS software to truly make a difference in our world. Each of the organizations being honored today has helped expand the use of GIS technology and improve our quality of life,” said Jack Dangermond, ESRI president.
For more than 30 years, ESRI has been the leading developer of GIS software with more than 300,000 clients worldwide.
In addition to its headquarters in California, ESRI has regional offices throughout the United States, international distributors in more than 90 countries, and more than 1,200 business partners.
ESRI can be found on the Web at