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UWRF police implement background check program

October 22, 2009

The UW-River Falls University Police and Parking will begin using the eTIME program which allows officers to run background checks to monitor parking tickets, driver’s authorization, and the ability to use state vehicles and get permits without having to go through Pierce County dispatch.

“Right now we are just going through the training process,” Dick Trende, UWRF police chief, said. “Within the next month we will have an officer and an officer administrator going through the training.”

The system known as eTIME is an Internet-based system used to access transaction information for the management of enforcement (TIME) by authorized users of law enforcement agencies, according to the Wisconsin Crime Information Bureau.

“It’s where we can run regional checks, drivers license checks or identify abandoned cars more quickly without having to go through Pierce County dispatch,” Trende said. “In the past we’ve called into Pierce County [dispatch] to do record checks…this will create an environment where we are able to do it ourselves.”

eTime collects and disseminates timely, accurate and critical criminal justice information to meet the needs of the Wisconsin law enforcement community. It provides statewide telecommunication services linking Wisconsin criminal justice agencies to each other and to the national networks, according to the Wisconsin Crime Information Bureau.

“With eTIME there are restrictions…you have to have a reason [to do a background check],” Trende said.
This program does not allow officers to run checks for any reason-there has to be a legitimate reason for concern. An example of this would be if someone has been reported hanging around campus that is not a student, faculty member or staff.

“We can do criminal background checks if there is a campus concern or if we have contact with someone,” Trende said. “We will be able to find out if there is a risk more quickly.”

eTime is not a new program for law enforcement agencies, according to Trende.

“Mainly, it is just another tool that we will have to keep our campus safe now that we have changed over to a police force,” Trende said. eTIME, along with the hiring of two police officers and the purchase of a UWRF University Police vehicle, have been additions to University Police and Parking since the transition from public safety to a certified police force this spring.

“I think it’s a good thing because public safety was considered a joke; they really couldn’t do anything,” Cate Sering, a UWRF student, said. “Now that they have more power, people will take them more seriously.”