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The Independence Police Department is located in Missouri and is a part of the Kansas City metro area. The city has a population of 117,000 in a 78.25 square mile area.

Independence is connected to the major cities of Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis via Interstate 70. Like many cities located near major interstates, this invites the potential for increased criminal activity in the area.

To keep the residents of Independence safe, both the Independence Police Dept. and the Independence Fire Dept. use New World Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), Law Enforcement Records Management, Mobile Messaging, Field Reporting, Fire Records, Fire Mobile, and Decision Support software from Tyler Technologies.

The Challenge

As with most technology, there is a point when public safety agencies need to upgrade their software to meet their needs. In the early 1990s, the Independence Police Dept. began using a DOS-based CAD system. While the system met the needs of the department initially, as technology advanced in the industry and the system remained the same, it no longer offered law enforcement and fire users what they needed to adequately protect the city.

Some of the deficiencies of the system included:

  • All routing with dispatch and reporting functionality was paper based. This included paper warrants and reports, many of which were filled out on the side of the road or back at the police station.
  • Storing the vast amounts of documents generated by a paper-based process resulted in the need for off-site storage.
  • No mobile software capabilities meant all communication to and from dispatch had to be carried out via radio.
  • Records capabilities of the police department system lacked crucial functionality needed by the fire department, resulting in the fire department using a different software vendor.
    • Communication and data sharing between the police department and fire department was limited.

The Solution

In 2010, officials with the Independence Police Dept. elected to upgrade to a system on a newer platform, which enabled the fire department to get back on the same system as the police department.

This upgrade took the Independence Police Dept. and Independence Fire Dept. from a DOS-based system with no automation, minimal storage capabilities, and no mobile capabilities to a user-friendly, Microsoft-based technology that offered better integration between applications, more information sharing capabilities, and improved mobile functionality for police and fire users in the field.

The Results

By upgrading to New World's Microsoft platform, the Independence Police Dept. and Independence Fire Dept. experience the following benefits:

  • First responders have access to mission-critical information in the field
    • Dispatchers enter vital information into call narratives, which is seen by first responders on mobile devices in patrol, fire and EMS vehicles
      • This reduces the need to call dispatch and ask for information relating to a call for service, location, or alert
    • Prior history information helps dispatchers alert first responders to any issues they may encounter on the scene
      • This includes information regarding onsite known hazards, which helps fire crews stay safer on the scene
    • Search capabilities are easier and allow for users to access mission-critical information while out in the field
  • Mobile capabilities help officers to do more while in the field
    • Officers can search for warrants while in patrol vehicles
    • Alerts are sent directly to mobile from CAD, providing first responders with instant access to information to keep them safer on the scene
      • This is especially beneficial when dealing with dangerous suspects
    • First responders no longer rely solely on dispatch for information about an incident when that information is readily available on a mobile device
  • Data is easily analyzed, accessed and shared
    • Information about a call for service, location, or from the police and fire departments is available instantly providing first responders with mission-critical information that improves safety on the scene
    • Alerts improve safety by notifying first responders of potential hazards while in transit or on scene
    • Crime analysis functionality helps identify trends and allows for predictive policing capabilities

"Using the same system helps us share information more easily with the fire department," Independence Police Dept.'s Records Administrator Joanna Whitt said. "When we both respond to the same calls, it's helpful knowing who is doing what and this system allows for that capability very well."

Summary

Using the same public safety software vendor for both the police and fire departments enables the city of Independence to share information, send better emergency responses, and utilize data to help decrease crime in the city.

Industry-leading New World public safety software from Tyler has a proven track record of providing agencies across the country with fully-integrated solutions designed to help public safety personnel save lives and improve efficiencies.

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