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DNC Communications Ran Smoothly for Denver CIO

City deploys temporary 311 call centers resolve questions sparked by massive four-day political convention.

by / September 5, 2008
Molly Rauzi, CIO, Denver city and County Molly Rauzi

Denver CIO Molly Rauzi said Democratic National Convention (DNC) communications for responders, such as police, firefighters, 311 phone operators and others, ran smoothly. Although Rauzi's team worked seven consecutive 12-hour days, she managed to take two vacation days, to attend DNC speeches, parties and concerts, checking in with her team routinely for conference calls.

Rauzi set up two auxiliary 311 call centers, staffed by 90 volunteers, devoted to government-related questions about the DNC, which was held in Denver Aug. 25-28.

"We got about 408 miscellaneous calls, 340 calls on street closures, 280 questions about events and 184 questions about light rail," Rauzi said.

She connected the temporary 311 centers to the city's PeopleSoft customer relationship management (CRM) system, which routed calls to the appropriate volunteers. Rauzi's team snatched computers from local agency training rooms and used equipment on loan from the state's Elections Division to stock the two centers.

"We were trying not to spend a lot of money on things that wouldn't have good use after the convention," Rauzi said.

Denver will store video surveillance footage taken during the DNC in case it needs to respond to legal action arising from the event. Rauzi ensured the city's High Activity Location Observation (HALO) system captured thorough footage of protestors to defend against accusations of police using unnecessary force on militant protesters.

"If we do get sued, we can see who did what," Rauzi explained.

Denver police and firefighters also used Cisco's i-Tech during the four-day convention, a technology that let them listen to radio communications on various frequencies via their BlackBerrys.

Rauzi used two vacation days for the four-day convention, so she could enjoy the festivities in between conference calls.

"I was working the whole time, but I took two days to attend events, listen to some of the speakers and attend a lot of the parties," she said. "I had a blast."

Rauzi stayed in contact with her staff, through calls every four hours.

"I could be at an event talking to people, but then jump on a conference call and deal with issues throughout the day," Rauzi said.

She didn't waste the opportunity to catch several music acts, including Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and John Legend.

Rauzi spent her birthday attending Barack Obama's convention speech, which also marked the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

"That was really cool for me, personally," Rauzi said.


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Andy Opsahl

Andy Opsahl is a former staff writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.

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