The Cannon County Sheriff's Department is in the process of of joining the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System, known as Tennessee SAVIN.
Lisa Baird, director of Cannon County S.A.V.E., the agency which provides counseling and services to victims of domestic violence, said the sheriff's department recently agreed to become a part of the system and should have it implemented within the next one to two months.
The computerized system, called VINELink, is the online version of VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), the National Victim Notification Network. This service allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day.
Law enforcement officials are required by law to notify victims of domestic violence when an abuser is to be released from jail or has escaped from customer.
"Once somebody is arrested and put in jail for a violent crime, the victim is supposed to be notified," Baird said. "With this system victims can call a toll-free line or go online to set up a way to be notified."
Victims and other concerned citizens can register to be notified by phone, email, text message (SMS) or TTY device when an offender's custody status changes. Users can also register through their participating state or county toll-free number.
The service is provided by the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association.
"The Coalition implements the program and handles all the maintenance, and the county will never have to pay for anything," Baird said. "The coalition also provides the sheriff's department will all of the informational materials to provide to victims.
TN SAVIN monitors the status of inmates by way of an automated interface with computers at the jail. The 24-hour a day system immediately notifies a crime victim when the person by whom he or she was victimized has a change in custody status. Notification calls continue for 24 hours or until the correct victim has been contacted. Victims use a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when registering, and the only way a notification call can be stopped is by entering the assigned PIN.
TN SAVIN is an innovative service providing crime victims, victim advocates, and other concerned citizens free and confidential notification regarding a particular county inmate's release, transfer or escape from participating agencies.
TN SAVIN can provide registered users access to timely information about particular offenders 24-hours a day, over the phone, through the Internet, or by e-mail.
TN SAVIN is a project of the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence provided by a grant from the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Baird said the system would also benefit the sheriff's department because it will make it easier for them to get in touch with victims when a criminal is due to be released.
"I'm glad the sheriff's department is doing this because it is going to help them as far as being able to notify victims," she said. "It's a win-win for everyone."