Victims of domestic violence in Cannon County could soon have a new tool against suffering additional abuse from their offenders.
Lisa Baird, director of Cannon County's domestic violence assistance program, S.A.V.E., says she has approached the Cannon County Sheriff's Department about joining the Tennessee Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program (SAVIN).
Baird indicated Cannon County Sheriff Billy Nichols and Chief Investigator Charlie Wilder have responded favorably during initial discussions she has had with them about the department joining the program.
The Tennessee Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program (SAVIN) allows crime victims in participating counties to obtain timely and reliable information about an offender's custody status 24 hours a day by telephone, through the internet, or by e-mail. Users can simply call a toll free number or go on-line to access the information. The service is available in English and Spanish.
The program is one of many sponsored by the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, a private nonprofit organization composed of diverse community leaders and program members who share a common vision of ending violence in the lives of Tennesseans through public policy, advocacy, education and activities that increase the capacity of programs and communities to address violence.
SAVIN Program Manager Douglas K. Chapman expressed his appreciation to Baird for her efforts in advocating the program for the organization.
"The Coalition truly appreciates you being an advocate for this program with your Sheriff’s Department," Chapman wrote in an e-mail. "The Coalition has a goal of mid February to have signed paperwork from your county to Appriss.
"The Coalition has partnered with Appriss, the company that operates this program, to bring automated victim notification to Tennessee. Internally, Appriss calls their automated notification program /Victim Information and Notification Everyday /(VINE). Currently there are 61 out of 95 counties in Tennessee that are already online with the SAVIN/VINE program, and 17 more counties have returned their signed paperwork to Appriss.
"There are many more great aspects of the SAVIN program and its implementation with Appriss through their VINE program. Should you, a representative from the Sheriff’s Department or anyone else want further information or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Also, I can make a visit to your county to have face to face time with the Sheriff if that would be helpful."
As a statewide organization, the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence serves:
• Domestic violence and sexual assault programs
• Community groups and organizations
• Criminal justice agencies
• Allied professionals (medical, legal, mental health, etc.)
• Individuals seeking information and resources
• Immigrant victims of domestic or sexual violence, stalking or traffickingServices Provided:
• Technical Assistance
• Curriculum and Resource Development
• Public Policy Advocacy
• Newsletter Publication
• Regional Educational and Networking Opportunities
• Resource Library
• Speaker's Bureau
• Toll-free Information LineInformation about the SAVIN/VINE program:
• 47 states currently use the VINE system for automated victim notification.
• 61 TN counties are currently fully implemented on the VINE network.
• 17 TN counties have returned their signed paperwork to Appriss and are in various stages of implementation.
• Registration for the automatic notification of an offender’s status can by done by either phone or on the internet.
• An offender’s status can be checked through VINE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• The VINE service is offered in both English and Spanish.
• Since April 2008, over 10,000 Tennesseans have registered for automatic notification from VINE.
• Offenders can be looked up by their name or offender number.
• Once a county is fully implemented, VINE receives updated information every 15 minutes on the status of offenders, from the jail’s booking system.
• Notification of an offender’s status change will be sent out either by automated phone call or email. Multiple email addresses or phone numbers can be added to the same notification.
• Currently, the SAVIN program is fully funded by a Federal Grant.
• Once a Sheriff’s department decides it wants to implement this program, the first step is to sign and return the TN SAVIN Questionnaire & Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Appriss. These documents are included in the Appriss packet that either you have or the Coalition will be mailing your county’s Sheriff’s Department.
• Appriss provides the hardware and software needed to interface with the booking system of the county jail.
• The Sheriff’s Department will need to have a technical contact(s) within the department who can be the point of contact with Appriss in case there is a problem with the flow of data from the Jail’s booking system and Appriss.
• Appriss will work directly with the provider of the jail’s booking software (SOMS, Southern Software, etc.) during the implementation and operational stages of the program to maximize efficiency of the data communication.
• A link for victims to look up offenders can be added to the Sheriff’s Department website. Having this service can reduce the number of phone calls that a Sheriff’s Department has to field asking for this same information.
• A free transfer option can be added to the Sheriff’ Department phone system that would forward all calls related to custody information directly to SAVIN thus reducing personnel time spent on answering these calls.
• Appriss provides print material to give to victims to instruct them how to access the VINE system.
• Appriss can provide training to Sheriff’s Departments about this program.