ELKHART, Ind., Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Elkhart County residents once again have access to fast notification when an offender they wish to track is released or transferred into the custody of another agency.
Sheriff Brad Rogers, in partnership with Elkhart County's victims assistance office, has entered into an agreement with Louisville-based Appriss to restore the local victim alert system — VINE, or Victim Information and Notification Everyday. Appriss had the contract with counties and the state until June 2010, when the Department of Correction moved to another vendor for its services.
The agreement was announced at a news conference this morning at the Elkhart County corrections facility. Amy Bechtel, representing victims assistance with the Elkhart County prosecutor's office, also spoke about the benefits of VINE.
"Protecting the citizens of Elkhart County is our highest priority," said Sheriff Rogers. "Sheriff (Mike) Books and I brought VINE to our county originally, and we are grateful they are willing to work with us again.
"VINE provides an added level of protection to victims because it gives them timely and accurate information on offenders," Sheriff Rogers added.
The website to register for the Appriss service is www.vinelink.us, or users also may call (866) 959-8463. People registering for the service are asked to provide the offender's name or inmate identification number, and may register multiple phone numbers or email addresses to be notified automatically when the offender's custody status changes.
One benefit of the VINE service is access to a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week for callers requiring additional help.
When VINE was in operation previously in Elkhart County, more than 500 users were registered. With the restoration of service, several new features will be added — including a link from the department's online offender lookup which will allow users to go directly to the VINE site for registration.
A quick link to the VINE system is available at the department's home page, elkhartcountysheriff.com.