Dispatching changes are coming soon
Jan 06, 2013 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A system to streamline dispatching at the Warren County Sheriff's Office and increase intercommunication among agencies in the county should be up and running this summer.
A computer-aided dispatch system for Warren County is expected to be operational by July, said Stephen Harmon, division manager for the support services division of the sheriff's office.
Harmon met Thursday with the vendors of the system to discuss implementation.
He will ask Warren County Fiscal Court on Tuesday to approve a bid of $53,931 for hardware for the new system. In November, Fiscal Court approved a bid from EnRoute Emergency Systems of $283,396 for the CAD system software.
While he knows it's a hard time to be asking for money for a big project, Harmon said he believes the investment will ultimately be worth it and result in more safety for Warren County responders and residents.
"I think it's money well spent," he said.
Currently, dispatchers use multiple disconnected databases to look up information to assist deputies and other emergency responders, Harmon said.
"We're not able to provide that in a timely manner," he said.
With the CAD system, that information will be accessible through a more streamlined system, Harmon said.
The mapping capabilities of the CAD system will also be helpful to the dispatchers in the sheriff's office, Harmon said.
A feature called automatic vehicle locator will allow them to see which unit is closest to an incident, which should help improve response times, he said.
Dispatchers will also be able to integrate important information into maps of the county, Harmon said. They will be able to add blueprints of key structures to a mapping system and make notes on specific addresses, such as if a resident is in a wheelchair or if dangerous chemicals are stored in a building.
Deputies will also be able to access much of that information in their vehicles, he said.
The sheriff's office will not be the only agency to benefit from the new CAD system, Harmon said. Dispatchers in the office also handle communications for the Woodburn Police Department, the Smiths Grove Police Department, Warren County Emergency Management and Warren County Rescue Department.
The sheriff's office has been looking into setting up a CAD system for about five years, he said. A set of databases of important information has been used by dispatchers since 2003.
"We're using it like a CAD, but it was never designed to do that," Harmon said.
An agreement between Bowling Green and Warren County to link the county's CAD system with the city's system will allow the agencies to share information more easily, Harmon said.
The agreement allowing the sheriff's office to connect to a piece of city-owned technology called a message switch saves the county about $60,000, but the new level of intercommunication that it allows was the most important aspect of the agreement for the sheriff's office, he said.
"You cannot put a dollar amount on that," Harmon said.
Currently, if dispatchers for the sheriff's office need information from the Bowling Green Police Department records, they have to make a phone call to the department and have it look up the necessary information, he said.
Western Kentucky University is also in the planning stages of setting up a CAD system, according to Mandi Johnson, public information officer for the WKU Police Department.
The Bowling Green Board of Commissioners has also approved an agreement allowing the WKU Police Department to connect to its CAD system.
The department has yet to purchase a system, Johnson said.
Having a CAD system would allow the department to do many tasks by computer, such as service requests, that are now done with pen and paper, she said.
"Everything we do is still by paper," Johnson said.
The system would also help the university fulfill some of its reporting obligations in a more timely manner, she said.
Federal and state laws require the university police department to issue daily reports about crime statistics on campus, and a CAD system would make those easier to put together, Johnson said.
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