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From Left Field

May 21, 2012

By BOB SHRALUKA
    Technology is moving swiftly throughout the nation and world, and emergency services units in Decatur and Adams County aren't being left behind.
    Decatur City Council recently approved the expenditure of a little over $16,000 — money already budgeted becoming available through merging dispatch systems — to link the city with the Sungard Management Sysem installed by the sheriff's department at its communications center in the county jail.
    Geneva's town council recently gave its approval to hooking up its emergency departments, and Berne is expected to follow suit.
    Once everyone in the county is tied in, the records of all police departments in the county will be available to each other, which has never been the case in the past. It's just a continuation of what's been going on. In the last couple of years, police and fire departments in the county have added what is called an 800 communication system, allowing them to easily converse with each other at all times.
    "We were always told with the old radios that you would be able to hear other departments, but you couldn't," Decatur Police Chief Ken Ketzler said recently.
    The new records linkup is a considerable achievement, he added, allowing each department in the county to access the records of the other. For instance, someone contacting the Decatur PD for a background check is now able to have checked only the records of the Decatur department. So the person often will be sent to the Indiana State Police for a more complete source.
    Once all police agencies in Adams County are linked to Sungard, however, that will no longer be necessary.
    And, Ketzler says, eventually it's likely that everyone in the state will be linked, offering even more detailed records.
    For obvious reasons, police investigations also will be enhanced, again due to easier access to everyone's records.
    Eventually, money willing, laptops or maybe ipads will be available in all police cars, allowing an officer to immediately make a background check through the Sungard system on someone he/she has stopped in traffic, someone taken into custody, etc.
    Cameras recording traffic stops and other incidents have been in the city cars for sometime and Ketzler recently was able to pick up without cost four hand-held devices that make the compilation of a traffic ticket considerably quicker.
    The city department has come a long way in a short time. Now, if only something could be done about a police station built at a time when the force had about half the officers it has today and considerably less equipment.

Looking back at the election
    Looking back on a primary election which fielded more candidates than has been seen here in years ... and years and years.
    • One of the major surprises was Deb Stimpson's solid victory in the three-person race for the Republican Recorder nomination. A political newcomer, Stimpson got 39 percent of the vote, with a 169-vote margin over her closest opponent, Jim Voglewede Jr. The thought here was that the third candidate, Jerry Walker, would run up a huge vote total in his home area of Berne while Stimpson and Voglewede divided up the Decatur vote. Walker, though, was a distant third. Maybe it's one more example of what old-fashioned hard work will do for a candidate.
    • Another surprise here is Rob Noetzel placing fifth among five candidates seeking GOP county council nominations. The party has had nothing but huge successes since Noetzel took over its chairmanship, but party people didn't seem anxious to express their appreciation with a vote.
    • It will be an interesting county council campaign next fall. Tony Mellencamp, a South Adams School Board member who did get a solid Berne vote, will be on the GOP ticket with incumbents Dennis Bluhm and Randy Colclasure. The Democratic side, meanwhile, will have former Berne mayor John Minch, former county assessor Judy Affolder, and political newcomer Dennis Hain.
    • Republican voters apparently bore no grudge against Tom Krueckeberg for jumping ship after several years as a Democratic member of the county council. He got almost 58 percent of the vote in a match with Ed Dyer for the Treasurer nomination.
    • Easy winner in Quote of the Election: A happy Mary Beery, the GOP nomination for auditor secured: "I want to scream, but that would be tacky,"

 

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