County dispatch upgrades helpful

By Nancy Madsen

The computer system for Jefferson County dispatchers can now share information with Jefferson County sheriff's road patrol and the county jail, which should save time and energy.

“Deputies could be looking for an individual on the street and if he's been in the jail, his mug will come up,” county Fire and Emergency Management Director Joseph D. Plummer said.

The system, made by Spillman Technologies Inc., Salt Lake City, became operational June 7. For about six months, staff uploaded county data.

“Technology changes every day and with our old system, which we've had four or five years, we'd never be able to get to this capacity,” Mr. Plummer said.

Dispatchers have an ever-increasing volume, with about 15,000 calls per month that are filed in the system, he said.

“As we've taken on cell calls and with the area growing, this will help us,” he said.

The program can manage the jail, assigning people to rooms and beds. And it can let deputies on patrol know when the person they need to interview is in the jail.

“It makes for a more effective use of personnel time because they can build on the information that's already been collected,” said Frederick D. Lampman, county deputy director of fire and emergency management. “Patrols can stay out on the road and don't have to come back to the station to file reports.”

Deputies can file the reports with messages to supervisors, who can approve and send them to records. With all the data, the system can generate all kinds of reports, such as the numbers of emergencies or crimes in one area.

The system uses computers in the patrol vehicles and also could be placed in firetrucks or ambulances. Mr. Plummer set up his system at the Jefferson County Fair.

“It gives us a lot of flexibility,” he said.

The system tracks all sheriff's patrol and state police cars, which can help when dispatch needs to coordinate searches. To install and maintain for six years, the system cost $900,000. The county has six more months on a yearly contract with its previous vendor.

“With what we paid our previous vendor, it worked out to be a wash,” Mr. Plummer said.

Some fire departments and ambulance services in the county may also want to add the system, but they would need to put about $10,000 in for a heavy-duty computer and equipment.

All of the records will be stored on three different servers. The transmissions use the county's microwave system, so it's not dependent on land lines.

Other county departments, including Information Technology, Planning and Real Property Services, assisted in compiling the data and working out the glitches.

“Being six weeks into this, we're light years ahead of where we've ever been with any CAD implementation,” Mr. Plummer said.