New networking system will assist Tyrone police with drug investigations

The Tyrone Borough Police Department has signed on with a relatively new program that will help law enforcement agencies throughout the state communicate and coordinate law enforcement activities on specific individual targets and operations.
The Pennsylvania Drug Enforcement Coordinating System is nearly two years old, and already, dozens of law enforcement agencies have decided to engage the program.
“This system is going to be a big plus in helping us get the drugs out of Tyrone,” said Police Chief Joe Beachem. “Through the (Blair County) drug task force, we’re usually well acquainted with dealers here in our own jurisdiction, but when you start stretching it state-wide, you obviously lose a lot of information.
“This is going to be a great way to keep on top of these kinds of things.”
Earlier this month, Tyrone Borough Council passed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the issue. Beachem said he will soon contact Chip Brown, who brought the idea to the Tyrone police force, and schedule a day Brown can install the software in the department’s existing system.
Once installed, Tyrone will be able to share valuable information with agencies investigating drug activity.
“If you have a known target that you are looking at, you can submit that name into the PADEC system and find out if anyone else is investigating them for drug activity,” said Beachem. “If somebody is, you can then contact that agency and coordinate a dual investigation and hopefully get some information that you may not have had on that individual prior to that shared information.”
According to Beachem, the system shows numerous characteristics of each individual entered, including eye and hair color, height, sex, any alias, etc.
“The nice thing about this system here is that in Tyrone, we get people from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Scranton and other outlying areas that we might not have that much information on,” said Beachem, “but we can utilize this system to get that information that we wouldn’t have had access to before.”
Beachem said any law enforcement agency in the commonwealth is eligible for membership. He noted that a number of other local policing authorities are also part of the system.
For each membering agency, one officer will be identified as the primary to use the system. This person will have the authority to submit, view, edit or delete the submissions of any other officer of the agency, to upgrade agency or officer information, and to accept notifications of database matches on behalf of any other officer of the agency.
Each will also identify officers which will have general access to the system. These users will have the authority to submit, view, edit or delete only those submissions that they themselves have created and to update only their personal information.
Information can be submitted to the system in a number of ways, including via telephone, fax machine, U.S. Mail or via a secure Internet connection.
When the information submitted matches identifying information of previously existing submissions, PADECS will notify those agencies of the submission.
“I think this is going to be a big advantage for our department and also for the community of Tyrone,” said Beachem. “We need to get the drugs out of Tyrone. The more information we can get in on these guys, the more information we have when it comes time to make and arrest or further the prosecution.”