L.A. County Sheriff tightens its belt

As tighter budgets have become a fact of life in California, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has had to forge a leaner computing environment and delay full implementation of its "executive support system" (see "Digital Deputy," NeXTWORLD, Spring 1992).

"This is really an opportunity as opposed to a catastrophe," says Claude Farris, captain of the data systems bureau. "We can leverage the substantial knowledge of the internal staff and let them accomplish the implementation over time. This allows them to gain experience from physically doing the task instead of coordinating or mon-itoring outside consultants."

Charged with producing savings without layoffs or reductions in rank, Farris combined staff to create project teams that will implement an "information network and technology infrastructure," he says. This will allow the department to "put the technology on desktops, tie it together over a network, and incrementally move in the direction we'd been moving."

The bureau has begun using DataPhile, Stone Design's flat-file database software. It has also finished analysis on a "patrol-station automation project" utilizing Oracle's relational-database management system.