Butler County Sheriff's Office joins state police's intel network

Aaron Aupperlee
| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

If the Butler County Sheriff's Office plans to raid a drug house, officers will know if another police agency intends to do so before kicking in the door.

The sheriff's office now shares information with the Pennsylvania State Police on undercover operations, raids, search warrants and other law enforcement activities through the Regional Information Sharing Systems Officer Safety Event Deconfliction System, known as RISSafe.

“This is all about communications,” said Butler County Sheriff Michael Slupe. “If you don't share information, someone could get hurt. And we don't want the good guys getting hurt.”

The agreement requires the sheriff's office to give the state police at least two hours notice of planned operations.

The state police will check the notice against other planned or ongoing operations to see if officers will be working within close proximity of each other. If the system detects a conflict, it notifies both agencies.

Slupe decided to enter RISSafe after the state police briefed area chiefs of police on the system.

The Butler County Board of Commissioners approved the agreement at its June 5 meeting.

“The main benefit for us on the county level of police work is officer safety,” said state police Trooper Dan Kesten, the public information officer for the barracks in Butler.

Kesten said agencies in Butler County do share information now.

Using the network will make communicating easier, he said. Police agencies in the county coordinate most drug-related operations through the county's drug task force, said Cranberry Public Safety Director Jeff Schueler, who also heard the briefing and will consider joining.

The state police receives information from 382 agencies in Pennsylvania.

Agencies in Philadelphia and Delaware counties report their activities to Philadelphia-Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

In May, the state police detected 38 conflicts in the 628 operations reported to it, according to the department.

In April, there were 55 conflicts in the 598 operations.

“The majority of the conflicts occur in the Philadelphia area because they have so much going on in such a small space,” said Sgt. Michael Hinkle, supervisor of the state police watch center in Harrisburg, where agencies report their operations.

A majority of the activities reported to the state police involve undercover operations, preventing the department from releasing specifics on conflicts avoided, said Sgt. Michael Hinkle, supervisor at the state police watch center in Harrisburg.

Hinkle said conflicts typically involve one agency conducting long-term surveillance on a drug suspect and another agency planning to do an undercover buy to arrest the suspect.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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