Columbia IT dept. wants to share police dog software for free

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The city's Information Technology Department is proposing a new project called cITySOFT. It is a software sharing project that will allow city governments to share their software with other cities for free.

Assistant Information Technology Director Mark Neckerman said, in addition to sharing it's own software, the city will be eligible to receive software from other governments. That will save Columbia time and money because it would not have to "reinvent the wheel" and design software that already exists. he said.

"The best thing about sharing technology is that we allow organizations to solve problems once," Neckerman said. "So if the City of Columbia can write a piece of software that solves a bunch of problems and share it, we solve that problem once and everybody gets the benefit of it."

The Columbia IT Department created its first sharable application earlier this year. It is a program to help track the training and usage of each dog in Columbia Police's K-9 division.

Neckerman said the key to creating shareable software is to follow a "modular" application design, which means it is programed to work for any city police department. Currently, the Columbia IT Department is seeking the city council's approval to share the K-9 progress tracking application with the Bates County Sheriff's Department for free.

The Columbia City Council will have its initial discussion Monday night. Neckerman said, if the council approves the proposal, the next big step will be finding other cities to participate in software sharing. Neckerman hopes one day the city will receive software from other cities.

Manager of Applications Randy Wyatt played a key role in the creation of the cITySOFT. He said the more cities that participate, the better the program will be. However, he said, even if no other local governments beside Bates County want to participate, cITySOFT will still have been a success.

"We're not spending any additional man hours or resources developing it," Wyatt said. "We're just trying to be a good neighbor by helping smaller cities."