The Emergency Communications Center utilizes a variety of computer systems to receive and dispatch calls for service.
The Plant Vesta telephone system is used to receive incoming calls. Each call, regardless of the number dialed (9-1-1, non-emergency, operator assisted, wireless, etc.) is routed to the Emergency Communications Center using this system.
Incoming 9-1-1 calls receive priority over non-emergency calls by the Emergency Communications Specialist (ECS) call takers who are trained to ask callers for specific information and to follow written departmental protocols. ECS call takers determine the location of the call, the nature of the call, and the priority. Calls that are determined to need dispatch are entered into SunGard HTE’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.
ECS dispatchers for Police, Fire and EMS pick up the entered call and dispatch the correct unit or units depending on the type of call. Emergency or high priority calls are voice dispatched, while non-emergency calls for service are assigned via computer to the correct unit for the geographic area. All calls for service are forwarded through the CAD system and received by the mobile data computers (MDCs) in the squad cars via SunGard HTE’s Mobile Data Browser software. The integration of software between the CAD system and the squad cars makes the job for both dispatcher and officer more efficient and saves valuable time.
When an officer is dispatched to a call for service, he has the ability to read the dispatch information, place himself on scene, and clear the incident, all without tying up the voice radio network. MDCs also allow police officers to query the local police database as well as the state and national databases from their squad cars. This enables the officers to obtain warrant or caution information rapidly, promoting officer safety and efficiency.
The Emergency Communications Center is under the direction of the Emergency Communications Manager. Along with the EC Manager, the Emergency Communications Supervisors oversee shift operations. The EC Supervisors are responsible for all aspects of daily operations, from quality control to monitoring active incidents and personnel, shift staffing, and inquiries from agency command staff. The current staffing levels for the Emergency Communications Center vary based on the time of day with maximum staffing planned for times of peak demand for service.