Justice Center looks to improve dispatch system

Josh Rhoten

Buffalo Bulletin

 

The Johnson County Justice Center takes calls and dispatches police, firefighters and ambulances 24 hours a day, seven days a week, carefully tracking their every move. There is only one problem – the dispatch system is prone to glitches.

“Sometimes in the middle of emergencies the whole thing will slow down or we will lose the data that we input, and then we have to go back through the radio records and re-enter all of it,” said Florenceia Gullick, who has worked as a dispatcher for three years. “And that is just a little taste…it just makes it harder to do our job and it can get really frustrating.”

The current dispatch system was put in place in 2005 and according to Buffalo Police Sgt. Jason Carder, it has become a bit of a struggle to work with.

“We have been trying to put other programs with it to make it work better but it’s just not a good system right now,” he said. “My goal is to get a new system and software in here that will be easy to use and will last us for quite some time.”

“A lot of the newer programs are just easier to use. Even right now it is hard to go in and do something as simple as fix a problem with something we filed,” said officer Garth Nicholas.

The Justice Center is currently looking at getting these upgrades through Sun Ridge Systems or Spillman Technologies. The new program and equipment would make the process smoother by doing small things like adding time stamps to the calls and allowing the users to set the informational displays how they want. While they seem like small details, these additions will make the system easy to train and a lot simpler to use.

There are few hurdles to overcome before getting the new system. One of which is the price tag for the proposed improvements that will cost about $300,000.

“I was glad I was sitting down when they told me that,” said Buffalo Police Chief Mike Chapman during a recent Buffalo City Council meeting. “But we are going to look into ways to pay for it without having to use the regular budget like grants and money from some of the boards around town.”

Carder, who has no immediate timeline for implementing the upgrade, said he feels that the money would be well spent in the long run.

“Everybody – Sheriff’s Department, ambulances, firefighters, will benefit from this upgrade and it will make everything run a lot smoother than it has in the past,” he said. “It will make it easier for everyone involved from start to finish.”