The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has been awarded a grant to participate in a new statewide automated service that will allow local crime victims and their families to receive real-time information tracking the custody status of offenders.
Listen to Sheriff Patrick Ray discuss the new automated service. (See video public service announcement below by Charlie Daniels)
Sheriff Patrick Ray says the Tennessee Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Service was established by the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence along with the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association. "I applied for a grant for the Sheriff's Department about six months ago with the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Tennessee Sheriff's Association is a part of that. I applied for that grant and we were able to obtain that grant. For the last month or so, they've been in the jail setting things up on our booking computer and it took effect today (Tuesday). So we're on line with it and ready to go."
"This service will tell if an offender is in jail and give you important custody information. It will also let you leave a phone number where if you want to find out if an offender is still in custody, you can call and leave your phone number and contact information in the system and when the offender gets released out of jail, it will automatically call you and tell you that they have been released from custody."
"It's primarily for domestic and sexual abuse cases where the victims. The victim will need to call 1-888- 868-4631. There will be some steps you need to go through. It's all an automated service. It's real easy to do. What it goes by at the jail is the offender's booking number. The system will give a number that will stay with the offender as long as he is in jail. That way then you call back the next time, if you want an update then you will type that number into that phone system and it will tell you if the offender is still in custody and where he is in custody. This system covers about 80 something counties here within the state so if the offender has moved from DeKalb County to another county in Tennessee then this service could be offered there too."
"There's a couple of different ways that victims will be able to get the phone numbers. You can call the Sheriff's Department. We'll give you a number there. You can get them from the deputies. When they go out on calls, you can request one from them then or the deputies will automatically hand you one, or you can call the toll free number."
As with other statewide systems, users can register to be notified of certain custody status changes such as release, transfer, or escape.
Users can call 1-888-TNVINE1 (888-868-4631) or log onto www.vinelink.com to find out if an offender is in a county jail. They can also register to be notified by phone, e-mail, pager, or TTD/TTY device when an offender is released, transferred, or escapes. Live operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist victims who need help obtaining offender information or registering for notification. Technical support professionals monitor and maintain SAVIN to ensure high reliability and availability of this potentially life-saving service. SAVIN is free to the public.
Sheriff Ray says "Our goal is to ensure that victims and their families are given timely and reliable information that allows them to protect themselves and fully participate in the criminal justice process."
Users registering by telephone must provide a number where they can be reached and a four-digit
Personal Identification Number (PIN) will be assigned by the Victim Service Unit. If registering online, a valid e-mail address must be provided. The service is available in both English and Spanish.
The implementation of Tennessee SAVIN is being funded by a Federal grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.