Steamboat Springs The Routt County Sheriff's Office is preparing to unleash a new computer system that will help the agency distribute information for wanted criminals, runaways and possible victims of kidnappers.
Sheriff John Warner's office recently received about $7,000 worth of computer equipment and software to use a computer program called Technology to Recover Abducted Kids.
The equipment was donated by Hewlett-Packard.
"I'm excited about this," Warner said. "There is a lot we can do with this computer program. We can be proactive in the way we use it."
Sitting in a back room in the Sheriff's Office is a computer, scanner and printer with the capability of creating posters for fugitives, abducted children, runaways, stolen vehicles and suspects of crimes.
The posters can be created in a matter of minutes, which will allow the office to get the information out quickly to other agencies or to the general public.
"Say we have a missing child," said Investigator Gary Sigman. "We can scan in a photo of the child and then get that information out a lot faster than we can now. We can fax it to other agencies, to schools and to newspapers."
Currently, when the office needs to send out information to another agency, it sends a teletype, which is a narrative report of a crime that sometimes includes a description of a suspect, he said. The report does not include photos.
A photo of a suspect, an abducted person, a runaway or a stolen vehicle can be valuable, especially in cases where the incident just happened.
"In less than five minutes we can have the information out to two dozen agencies in northwest Colorado," he said. "When we give a description of a suspect it does not mean a lot.
"When I tell you the suspect was six-feet tall, with dark eyes and was slender, that could fit the description of the majority of people in Steamboat Springs. If we can provide a picture, a person will be able to spot that person on the street easier than if we just give a general description."
Sigman believes the TRAK system can allow law enforcement agencies to get ahead of a criminal instead of chasing a criminal.
"Instead of trying to track them down, we can send out the information to other agencies where the person might be traveling through," he said. "We can send the information ahead of them."