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The Call


True stories from dispatchers, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel who use New World public safety software to help them save lives, protect communities and increase efficiency

Dispatchers Race Against the Clock to Locate Injured Officer

A lot can change in less than a minute.

For an officer with the El Cajon Police Department, there was a lot riding on that small unit of time.

The officer had radioed in to dispatch and all he could say was that he had been hit. The call taker had no way of knowing if that meant he had been involved in a collision or shot.

Sue said in less than a minute, the call taker had identified the officer's location using the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) functionality of their Computer Aided Dispatch software. With this information, dispatchers were able to send a rescue response to the officer.

What they discovered upon arrival was that the officer had been involved in a collision. While stopped at a traffic light, the officer's vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle traveling at 35 mph.

The officer suffered a broken neck, but had made a full recovery. The driver of the other vehicle was uninjured.

"This case serves as a prime example of how great the software is," Sue said. "We were able to get to his location even when he was unable to speak. AVL is a life-saving tool."

CAD System Handles Massive Call Volume Amidst Freak Storm and Power Outage

The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to strong storms, but some can be more destructive than others.

For 9-1-1 dispatchers in Snohomish County, these storms have the potential to intensify call volumes – and that's exactly what happened in November 2015.

The storm generated winds as high as 119 mph, leaving more than 1 million individuals without power throughout the region. These winds caused significant structural damage to buildings and homes and also resulted in several downed trees. Three individuals in the greater Seattle area were killed as a result of falling trees.

Because of the damage to private residences and injuries this storm caused, numerous calls came in to the Snohomish County Police Staff and Auxiliary Server Center (SNOPAC) and the Southwest Snohomish County Communications Agency (SNOCOM), the county's two Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

As if the storm itself wasn't bad enough, both PSAPs lost power and ran solely on their generators throughout the duration of the storm.

According to SNOPAC's executive director Kurt Mills, SNOPAC nearly doubled its 911 call-takers during the storm to keep up with the calls coming into the center. In spite of the intense call volume, the system never faltered, which was a concern Mills had due to the fact that the PSAP had only been using its new computer aided dispatch (CAD) software for a few weeks at that point.

"The storm was massive," Mills said. "We are already a busy center processing around 1,300 calls every day, but during the storm we really pushed our new CAD system hard with a flood of calls and activity and it handled the workload without as much as a hiccup."

These storms helped illustrate just how far a solid CAD software solution and dedicated public safety staff will go to handle everyday emergencies and extreme situations.

"We're shaving seconds and sometimes minutes off of every mutual aid response, which often happen numerous times every single day, by not having to call our sister PSAP and ask for units," Mills said.

To learn more about the technology involved in this story, read the SNOCOM/SNOPAC Case Study.

Watch a video testimonial from SNOPAC's Rich McQuade

Predictive Policing Helps Prevent Crimes

All crimes leave a trail of data in their wake. Software that can identify this trail helps everyone from dispatchers to officers on patrol to stay ahead of criminals. Trends, hot spots of criminal activity, even times of day or week can be identified using public safety software.

Personnel with the Everett Police Department, located in Snohomish County, Washington, understand this and that's why they're able to crack down on criminals more so now than in the past.

For instance, when officers run a plate or perform a routine traffic stop, they can bring up photos and warrants while out in the field using the mobile portion of their public safety software. This saves time, as it keeps them from having to contact the records department or dispatch.

According to Greg Lineberry, Captain of the Everett Police Department, having the ability to serve a warrant or look at booking photos with mobile software, provides immeasurable benefits to those working the field, in dispatch and in records.

"When our officers don't have to come into the police station to look up a warrant or view photos, it saves everyone time and helps us get criminals off the streets faster," Lineberry said.

In addition to saving time, the data that is stored and used in the Everett Police Department's system helps with improving data collection and tracking trends.

Lineberry said this helps the police department move toward using more intelligence-led policing efforts, which will help keep the community safer.

Recently, the Everett Police Department was able to crack down on vehicle thefts, identity thefts, and burglaries by using the data in their system.

Lineberry said this has also helped to cut down on the crime happening in areas of the city known for gang activity and drive-by shootings.

"There is an element out there that preys upon others, and we are committed to getting them off the streets and behind bars," Lineberry said.

Through the use of public safety software, the Everett Police Department is able to better protect and serve the community.

Read more: SNOPAC/SNOCOM Case Study

Photo courtesy of Everett Police Department