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Jefferson Co. 911 starts computer-based warrant search

August 07, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Police and 911 officials on Wednesday started a computer-based warrant check system following a controversy over how warrants for wanted people are handled in Jefferson County.

Local police have been complaining that 911 dispatchers are no longer checking for criminal warrants from municipal police departments.

Charles Town Police Chief Barry Subelsky has emphasized the importance of officers being able to check if a person is wanted by any other agencies - like during a traffic stop, for example - to help prevent a wanted person from getting away from police.

During a sometimes heated meeting between 911 director Jeff Polczynski and police Tuesday, Subelsky reiterated his frustration about the warrants and said he has been "to too many police funerals."

Polczynski said dispatchers had to wrestle with a cumbersome system of six or seven paper warrant lists, an inferior approach compared to a computer list that he preferred.

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Harpers Ferry Police Chief Donald Buracker said Wednesday that he and 911 officials started implementing a computerized warrant check system.

The plan uses a "Blue Crystal" software program that police have had to share information about crime victims and suspects, Buracker said.

Buracker said he worked with 911 officials Wednesday to get the warrant check system started.

Capt. Glenn Stevens of the Charles Town Police Department said Wednesday his department was working to get the department's warrants listed on the Blue Crystal program.

Stevens admitted that using Blue Crystal to check warrants was a "stopgap" way to address the problem. The drawback to the system is that it is not a statewide database, Stevens said.

Polczynski could not be reached for comment Wednesday and 911 dispatchers said Wednesday night that no supervisors who could comment were available.

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