In the world of public safety, dispatchers play a pivotal role in emergency responses. Severe weather, fire emergencies, and criminal acts all require first responders to get on the scene as quickly and safely as possible. To get them there, dispatchers need computer aided dispatch (CAD) tools.
Explore these feature stories to read about how agencies from across the United States help create safer communities when responding to calls for service.
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From fugitives on the run to massive pileups, the stories from The Call show the type of dynamic situations dispatchers, first responders, sworn officers, and civilian employees handle on a daily basis and the role that technology plays while they make communities safer together.
In looking back at the first half of 2017, the following posts and videos to The Call highlight the work of public safety personnel throughout the country:
Have a story you would like to share with The Call? Let us know!
From identifying bodies to capturing fugitives, the stories from The Call show the type of situations public safety personnel throughout the United States handle on a daily basis.
In the last four months, our most popular articles include:
Burglary Ring Busted by Law Enforcement
The Facts About Text-to-911
Police Keep Community Safe Using Mission-Critical Data
These articles highlight how public safety officials keep communities safe as well as the importance of keeping up with industry trends like Next Generation 911.
Have a story you would like to share with the call? Let us know!
From devastating fires to terrorist attacks to fugitives on the run, the content from The Call shows the dedication of public safety personnel throughout the United States.
In the last six months, our most popular articles include:
These stories feature public safety officials from Snohomish County, Washington, Kankakee County, Illinois, and Greenbelt, Maryland. While each location is vastly different from the next, the common thread of serving the public is what is highlighted in each piece.
We are looking forward to sharing more public safety content in 2017!
Heinous crimes often times result in changes to the law. In 2010, one of those crimes happened in Kankakee County, Illinois.
A call came in to 9-1-1 regarding five bodies in a trailer. The dispatcher who took the call sent two deputies to the scene. The deputies rode together and traveled at 102 mph down rural roads to the alleged trailer. But they never made it.
The vehicle the deputies were traveling in went off the road when its tire blew out and rolled five times. Deputy David Stukenborg's spine was shattered in the accident and rendered him paralyzed from the chest down. The other officer suffered non-life threatening injuries.
According to Trent Bukowski, IT manager for the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office, the woman who made the call did so to anger her ex-boyfriend. She knew there were no bodies in the trailer and that no crime had been committed, but wanted her ex-boyfriend to get into trouble.
When the accident involving the deputies was discovered along with the fact that the call was bogus, authorities reacted quickly to discover who made the call.
Unfortunately, the call was placed by a disposable cell phone and was not trackable by traditional methods. However, there was one location where that number was previously tracked: The corrections system used by the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office.
Bukowski said the number from the disposable cell phone was entered into the corrections system when the woman who made the call visited her ex-boyfriend in the county jail. This visit took place months before when the two individuals were still a couple.
"Since our records and corrections systems share data automatically, it makes it easier for us in multiple ways," Bukowski said. "If we hadn't entered that number into the system when this woman visited, we might not have ever found out who made that call."
After the deputy was paralyzed responding to the prank call, the Illinois General Assembly put a new law into effect Jan. 1, 2011. The new law states that a person found guilty of making a false 9-1-1 call will be charged with a Class 4 felony. This crime is punishable by one to three years in prison and carries a $25,000 fine.
This is a stark contrast to the previous law, which classified the same crime as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in jail. The woman who made the prank call that paralyzed the officer was fined and served 364 days in the county jail.
Eliminating fighting in a correctional facility is nearly impossible, but there are ways it can be reduced.
The Jerome Combs Detention Facility in Kankakee, Illinois is no stranger to inmate fights. However, corrections officers working at this facility utilize their corrections software to help reduce the number of fights on the grounds.
According to corrections officer Justin LeSage, this software helps to make sure that certain inmates are never housed together.
"We get inmates in here who are purposely looking to start a fight with other inmates," LeSage said. "It can be retribution or retaliation or at random. But with our corrections software, we are able to make sure that inmates with known associates or affiliations are not given the opportunity to get into trouble with another inmate."
LeSage said he faced one incident where an inmate in the Jerome Combs Detention Facility was awaiting sentencing for the murder of a woman.
The murdered woman's boyfriend committed a crime and declined to post bond so that he could enter the jail to kill his girlfriend's killer. Once brought to the detention facility, the man wanted to be housed in the same area as his girlfriend's killer.
What the man didn't know was that the corrections software classification and records keeping system prevented that from happening because his known associates were already listed.
"If we didn't have this software and inmates were housed together when they shouldn't be, who knows what could happen," LeSage said.
With this information, jail managers and corrections officers are able to manage jail populations, track inmates and prevent incidences from occurring.
Watch Sheriff Michael Downey discuss how the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office used software to identify a body.
When cutbacks in 2015 resulted in a reduction of officers on patrol throughout Kankakee County, the county experienced a rash of burglaries.
For three weeks, burglars ransacked homes in search of guns, jewelry, electronics, cash and anything else of value.
"It got to the point where you were either a victim of the burglaries, neighbors with someone who had been a victim or afraid of becoming a victim," according to Becky Powell, Investigation's Officer Manager for the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office.
The burglaries took place in Kankakee's neighboring counties as well, and all information from those incidences were entered into Kankakee's records system.
This collection of shared data along with tips that were called in helped generate documents in the records system so that law enforcement officials and other individuals involved in solving the case had instant, accessible information.
"The criminals involved in the burglaries knew that we had a reduction in force," Trent Bukowski, IT Director for the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office said. "They took advantage of the lighter patrol that was going on throughout the county."
A break in the case came when the burglars were caught on a security camera stealing from a Walmart store in Kankakee. The surveillance footage provided a description of the offenders and the two vehicles they were driving.
What was especially notable about this footage was that one of the burglars was seen wearing a Chicago Bulls t-shirt in the video. This helped investigators tie the individual to a residential burglary that took place later in which that same shirt was found at the scene.
These descriptions were entered into Kankakee's records system and alerts were put out so that all officers in the county and surrounding areas knew what the suspects looked like and what cars they were driving.
Once officers were aware of this vital intelligence, they arrested the individuals as they left the scene of a burglary. The individuals were caught with items stolen from houses and items with tags on them from Walmart, which were purchased with stolen credit cards.
With the information sharing and data integration capabilities of the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office's computer aided dispatch, records, mobile, field reporting and corrections public safety software solutions, these criminals were able to be brought to justice.
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