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Police upgrading records and dispatch system

Maj. Brad Cowden speaks during a Del City City Council meeting. Photo by Lea Terry

By Lea Terry
Midwest City Beacon

The Del City Police Department hopes a new records management and dispatch system will help decrease emergency call response times and increase the amount of time officers can spend in the field instead of at the station.

According to Del City Police Chief LLoyd Berger, the current records management and dispatch system has been in place since 1999 and is in need of updating.

“It’s old and antiquated so we’re just trying to move into the modern era with this,” Berger said “This one can do a whole lot more.”

The city council voted Nov. 6 to approve the new system, which will be purchased from CentralSquare Technologies, LLC at a cost of around $236,000.

Major Brad Cowden presented the project to the city council, pointing out that a major upgrade with the new system is the more immediate dispatching of emergency calls to officers in the field. With the current system, dispatchers must enter all of the information and submit the call before officers receive an alert on their tablet, but with the new system, officers will see the call in real time as the dispatcher is entering it into the system. Cowden said the system has decreased response time by about 60 percent on average at other departments.

The new system will also allow dispatchers to send a link to a caller’s cell phone to obtain their precise location. Cowden said this could be particularly helpful for situations when a caller cannot speak to the dispatcher.

Another major enhancement with this system is the ability for officers to complete much of their report in their vehicle before they even arrive back at the station.

“We’re the only agency that I’m aware of in the metro that doesn’t have this capability,” Cowden said. “One of the things we get constant criticism on is the amount of police officers who are at the police department at any given time, and that’s because it takes 2, 3 or even 4 hours to complete some of these reports.”

As an example, Cowden described the process required when an officer makes an arrest. It can take between 20 to 30 minutes to write an incident report, and then officers must transport the person to the jail, where they fill out additional paperwork, take the person’s fingerprints and complete medical questions. They also have to package the evidence and create both a departmental evidence form and an OSBI evidence form. Officers must sometimes enter the same information in multiple reports, but with the new system, much of this reporting process will be completed in the field before an officer even brings someone to the station, allowing officers to return to patrol much quicker.

The new system will also allow the department to create a map with real-time road closures and other traffic conditions that will tell dispatchers which officer is closest to a call based on current conditions. Currently, officers take calls on a rotation basis, which means the closest officer may not be the one who is dispatched to a scene.

Cowden said the new system should be implemented within the next eight to 12 months.

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