When county or city workers run into technology problems, the Sarpy County Information Systems Department is ready to help.
The department has long offered technical support to Sarpy County employees as well as employees with the cities of Bellevue, Papillion and La Vista.
County leaders say the partnership is efficient and has financial benefits.
“Instead of the cities having to go out and hire their own staffs with redundant capabilities, the county is able to share our skills and expertise,” said Sarpy County Board Chairman Don Kelly. “If we can combine our efforts, it saves money.”
Sarpy County Chief Information Officer Mark Walters agrees.
“The big winner is the taxpayer, who is getting four government agencies the I.T. support they need with zero duplication,” Walters said.
Offering technical support is just one example where the cities — and the public — benefit from Sarpy County’s technology expertise. The Information Systems Department also works with the cities to provide a geographic information system (GIS) data and public safety technology.
Providing 24/7 I.T. assistance
Sarpy’s Information Systems Department has provided I.T. support to Bellevue, Papillion and La Vista since the early 2000s.
Under the agreement, the cities pay the county for 24/7 assistance, whether city employees need help with equipment, networking or software. The county also manages the I.T. infrastructure, offers security training, assists with technology-related projects and serves as the liaison between the cities and various software vendors.
In September, the county and cities renewed the agreement for another three years.
Nancy Hypse, the City of Papillion’s Finance Director, said the support is valuable because the city gets the expertise and help of the entire Sarpy County I.T. team.
Without the partnership, Papillion might have only a single staffer handling all of the city’s I.T. needs, which could lead to service interruptions if the person takes a vacation day or is unavailable. Plus, one person couldn’t offer the same amount of expertise as an entire team, she said.
Hypse said the county’s Information Systems staff is very responsive, and they help with everything from setting up a new city employee’s workstation to addressing issues that arise after normal business hours.
“They feel more like co-workers,” she said of the County’s I.S. staff.
In the past year, the county completed nearly 3,000 I.T. work orders for the cities: 1,108 for Bellevue, 1,024 for Papillion and 707 for La Vista.
Analysis through GIS
The Sarpy County Information Systems Department also oversees the management and maintenance of geographic information system (GIS) data.
Sarpy’s GIS efforts are kept current through an agreement between the county, all five Sarpy cities and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.
The public can easily access the GIS system to find information about various types of data, from land and crime records to roads projects and polling place information.
GIS Coordinator Eric Herbert said his division aims to develop and maintain accurate location intelligence.
“Having the information all in one place opens up a whole new level of analysis and access to information,” Herbert said.
Sarpy’s GIS features include:
LiDAR — aerial topography that uses elevation data. Helpful for engineers and developers who are seeking the topography of a given area.
Sarpy Internet Map Service (SIMS) —property records that include address, valuation and owner information. It also shows zoning, future land use and flood information.
Crime Map — view criminal activity in a neighborhood and search by the type of incident and the responding law enforcement agency.
View all the GIS features here.
The City of Papillion uses GIS every day, according to Papillion Planning Director Mark Stursma. The city uses the data to create maps and to assist citizens with property and development questions.
“I would enthusiastically praise the GIS team for providing a great service,” Stursma said.
Keeping Sarpy County safe
The Sarpy County Information Systems team also plays a role in keeping Sarpy County safe by helping the fire departments and law enforcement agencies maintain their critical software.
I.S. also helps support Sarpy County Emergency Communications (911), particularly as that department implements Next Generation 911, an initiative that will update emergency communication infrastructure to match today’s digital world.
The County and the cities of Bellevue, Papillion and La Vista share a Law Records Management System. Through this system, law enforcement officers are able to save information that is then accessible by the other jurisdictions.
La Vista Police Chief Bob Lausten said the setup has numerous benefits. For example, it allows officers to identify if an individual is a suspect in another jurisdiction.
“This has been a good partnership for going on 20 years,” Lausten said. “It’s just another example of the cities and county working together.”