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Database training set for Fayette jail guards, 911 dispatchers

| Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guards at the Fayette County jail will undergo training to ensure they can access an online database containing bench warrants.

The prison board on Wednesday identified the guards' lack of training on a computerized database as one factor that has made it difficult for constables and police officers to commit wanted persons to the jail on weekends and nights.

Sheriff Gary Brownfield, chairman of the prison board, said the jail requires hard copies of bench warrants to commit individuals to the facility. Janice Snyder, clerk of courts, said state police have advised her the jail often can't access or print out the warrants on weekends and nights, meaning they cannot commit wanted persons to the facility.

The board earlier this month indicated a new computer system that is to be installed at the jail will resolve the problem, but the board met yesterday during a special meeting to discuss the ongoing problem.

Snyder said personnel from her office can assist with the training.

Others who are to be trained are 911 dispatchers. Craig Konopa, an administrative supervisor with the county's emergency management agency, said dispatchers need instruction on interpreting data contained on a state-maintained website that lists individuals' criminal records, Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System.

Konopa said police often call 911 to determine whether an individual has an active bench warrant.

In addition to offering the training, the county will reconfigure its existing computer system to ensure the jail and 911 dispatchers have access to the online database.

The board took no formal action yesterday, but members indicated the training and new computer system should be in place next month.

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