BSO has managed the dispatch system for 20 years, but Jefferson said that responsiblity transfered to Broward after local voters in 2002 approved the change as part of a charter amendment. The amendment called for the creation of a communications system to facilitate “closest unit” response to an emergency.
Jefferson said the 21 computer experts who manage the dispatch system are the same people who have performed the job for years.
“Their functions have not changed,’’ he said. “Their reporting structure has changed.’’
But BSO’s emergency motion contains a signed affidavit from James Coffee, an information security officer for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who states that the county is not authorized to provide criminal justice information to a law enforcement agency such as the sheriff’s office.
In order to abide by FBI and FDLE regulations, Coffee states, the county must execute a management agreement with BSO to operate the dispatch system — and he is not aware of one that exists.
Jefferson said county officials have been trying to get BSO to sign a management agreement for a year or more, but the sheriff has declined.
Even if such an agreement were to exist, though, Coffee said BSO would still need to control the network’s security systems in order to comply with FBI and FDLE requirements, or else risk losing access to their criminal databases.
The databases contain information such as criminal record histories, the identities of fugitives, stolen property listings, missing persons and suspected terrorists. Local police can search the databases during a traffic stop to determine if a car is stolen or if the driver is wanted by law enforcement.