In the world of emergency situations, every second counts. That's why it is important for dispatchers to never have to worry about their computer aided dispatch (CAD) system going down.
Although rare, CAD systems can go down for a variety of reasons. One reason some are taken down deliberately is to update geographic information system (GIS) data imperative to routing.
Keeping GIS information current is a crucial component to maintaining faster and smarter response times. While there is a plethora of GIS data about a community that does not change, certain elements need to be updated from time to time, such as a new development being built, road closures and construction.
This updated information provides greater accuracy and helps dispatchers and first responders continuously provide a high-level of service to the community.
Some CAD software still requires going offline in order to update GIS data because their systems are unable to update in real time and stay online. It's Important to have a system that allows for the updating of GIS data without having to take that system down, as this lets dispatchers and first responders have constant access to data.
When a CAD system is taken offline, calls for service are still handled, but dispatchers are required to use radio communication. Deliberately taking a CAD system offline to update GIS data meant that calls for service suffer from not having important information available at all times.
Increasing patrol in areas of high crime is nothing new for most jurisdictions.
According to CAD Manager Mike Dewey of the Greenbelt Police Department, patrolling crime hotspots is a priority. Ensuring other areas of the city are also covered efficiently is something they do as well through the use of their mapping software.
Dewey said he monitors patrol patterns in real time, which helps to identify areas of high saturation. High saturation can indicate areas known for higher crime rates, which leads to an increase of patrol. It can also show where several police cars are following a response to a call for service.
Being able to identify these areas empowers everyone from supervisors to dispatchers to officers in the field to see where each police unit is located.
From there, officers have the ability to move from areas of high saturation to areas of lighter coverage. This maximizes the police department's coverage of the entire city and provides effective coverage for a community.
"Using the software to watch where officers have been recently allows the shift to function as more of a coordinated unit," Dewey said. "Without this ability, it is much more likely that areas in the community would inadvertently get less efficient coverage."
The mapping capabilities of Greenbelt's public safety software also aids in faster response times. For instance, when a call comes in to the dispatch center but has not yet been assigned, officers in the field can see that the call has been queued up and can start driving in the direction where there is a need for service.
In taking this proactive measure, officers are en route faster and arrive on the scene quicker once the address is provided or units are assigned.
"The capabilities of our software system definitely result in faster response times," Dewey said.
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