City of Dallas Live on Multi-Agency, Multi-Jurisdictional Computer Aided Dispatch

Integrated mapping provides a GIS-centric approach to computer-aided dispatch and emergency response not previously available.

by / August 29, 2007

Last week, the City of Dalles implemented a new Computer-Aided Dispatch system, replacing a 30-year old mainframe-based system.

"We're extremely pleased with how VisiCAD is performing and Dallas Police and Dallas Fire Rescue dispatchers agree that the CAD system is performing extremely well," said Lynn Chaffin, public safety portfolio manager for the city of Dallas. "The dispatch system has performed flawlessly since go live. The enthusiasm for the system, its capabilities and potential, and the TriTech team go without question to enhancing the city's public safety services.

"Implementing a large-scale project of this complexity offers many challenges and we are making good progress. Issues concerning MDC connectivity and several interface improvements have been quickly facilitated by TriTech engineering staff, and writing police reports to the legacy mainframe has required additional programming. The primary frustrations of officers in the field relate to connectivity issues that are being addressed; additional field training should resolve other issues. At no time during this implementation has public safety or officer safety been compromised."

The new system enables the city's three command centers -- Dallas 9-1-1, Dallas Police, and Dallas Fire and Rescue -- the flexibility and configurability for handling multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction "joint responses" to emergency and non-emergency calls. Each agency's mobile resources (1,800 Police and 200 Fire and Rescue) can be jointly coordinated on an interoperable level with the command centers handling the city's 4,000 daily calls (3.6 million annually).

VisiCAD Command's integrated mapping provides a GIS-centric approach to computer-aided dispatch and emergency response not previously available. The mapping display integrates with in-vehicle Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) and the mobile GPS receiver to poll latitude and longitude coordinates, which are utilized for live mapping display updates for VisiCAD Command. The GIS integration and AVL functionality work seamlessly to assign resources through routing-based unit recommendations that utilize street networks to ensure fast and accurate unit routing and incident response times.

Additional mission-critical features include:

  • Automatic Dispatch allowing Police and Fire Rescue dispatchers to automatically determine and dispatch the optimum units to an incident across agencies.
  • Prior incident and premise history information available to the field in real-time -- first responders and field officers in hot pursuit or in high-risk situations such as responding to a hazardous materials site or high-crime locations will have this intelligence at their fingertips to greatly increase safety.
  • VisiCAD's seamless Interface capabilities will also allow for other departmental agencies to be brought online such as Dallas Police Department Physical Evidence Investigation (crime scene) to provide data sharing between regional jurisdictions.