The city of Tallahassee recently received notice of national recognition from the Public Technology Institute (PTI) as an "Innovation Lab." The City achieved the prestigious recognition for its "Public Safety Systems Integration Project," a substantial upgrade of technology systems used by the Tallahassee Police Department and Tallahassee Fire Department, which enhances public safety as police officers and firefighters can respond faster and have more data at their disposal. The project was coordinated by the City's Information Systems Services Division.
PTI's Innovation Lab program recognizes local government jurisdictions for the proven, successful deployment of a technology solution or practice. PTI is a national non-profit technology research and development organization based in Washington, DC, representing local governments.
The project involved replacing police and fire computer aided dispatch (CAD) and records management systems, and integrating both new applications with enhanced 9-1-1, automatic vehicle location technologies (AVL), advanced technical mapping, querying tools, imaging technologies, electronic field reporting, crime and fire analysis tools, and the City's 800 MHz data system. Additional phases have been included since the project's inception in 2001 to keep current with technology trends, such as wireless data transmission via cellular technologies. For citizens, the technological advances mean faster response times for police and fire units, along with critical data available in real time to first responders.
"I'm proud of the City's achievement in the area of technology enhancement, particularly given our emphasis on improving the delivery of public safety services to our citizens," said City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. "I'm especially proud of the collaborative efforts of our Information Systems Services staff working with the Police and Fire Departments to upgrade the technology in these critically important systems. One of our organizational goals is to provide higher levels of service to citizens through the use of technology."
"Secure communications and data-sharing among government officials are vital weapons in the public safety arsenal," commented Alan Shark, Executive Director of PTI when naming Tallahassee an Innovation Lab. "I applaud Mayor John Marks and members of the City Commission, City Manager Anita Favors Thompson, Chief Information Officer Don DeLoach, Police Chief Dennis Jones, and Fire Chief Cindy Dick for having the foresight to bring these different technology components together to better serve the citizens of Tallahassee."
As a result of this project:
- Dispatchers can now transmit call information data along with voice communications to police officers and firefighters, meaning public safety personnel have access to accurate and timely intelligence and analysis through the real-time sharing of information.
- Police officers and firefighters can monitor the status of all CAD call activity on the mobile computers in their vehicles.
- Geographic mapping functionality, working with AVL, is used to dispatch the closest vehicle (when appropriate), assist in determining most efficient travel routes, and visually show crime analysis trends for resource management and strategic planning.
- The City of Tallahassee has saved thousands of dollars in costs by eliminating duplicate entries of police reports, and reduced personnel costs by allowing officers to review and submit reports from the field rather than having to take the time to travel to police headquarters to submit their reports.
- By being named an Innovation Lab, the City of Tallahassee received a special logo to place on its web site, and will share information on the project and serve as a resource for government officials interested in improving public safety operations. Information on the project is available from the PTI web site; for more information on the City of Tallahassee, please visit the City's web site at Talgov.com