El Monte Police Department to Enter 21st Century

By Nick Kipley

The El Monte City Council convened on Tuesday night to unanimously pass item 14.4 on the agenda, a measure which is designed to replace outdated yet crucial software systems used by the city’s police force, add a new mapping system that will allow police officers in the city to carry out their duty more effectively, and a new server that will support all of this software. The main piece of software to be replaced is known as the Computer Aided Dispatch System/Records Management System, aka CAD/RMS, the current system was integrated back in 1996 and has not aged well.

Shannon Nurre, Communications Manager of the El Monte Police Department, presented the flaws of the current system to the Mayor, City Council, and members of staff, outlining the shortcomings of a system and presenting findings by El Monte PD about a new system the department wishes to adopt that several other cities in the San Gabriel Valley have integrated in recent years. The current system is crucial to police operations, coordinating everything from the calls that go out to cars, to report writing, maintaining arrest records, and storing the digital files accessed by detectives.

“I would consider [CAD/RMS] to be the central nervous system of our department,” she said, citing that the “[current] system is outdated, is slow, and freezes up. [It] has not advanced much over the past 20 years.”

The new state of the art technology CAD/RMS software that the El Monte PD wishes to adopt, Nurre said, is called the “Enterprise Public Safety System Software, from Spillman Tech. Inc. … Spillman can provide us with a fully integrated system that shares information between each information module, reducing redundancy in our workload.”

The cities of Monrovia, Baldwin Park, Azusa, Fountain Valley and Buena Park have used it to much success, with the city of Covina in the process of implementing it as well. The measure would also encompass a new mapping service that the El Monte Police Department will be able to use. This so called ArcGIS can pinpoint the location of 911 callers and provide a wide range of mapping services for every city department, saving El Monte money and integrating various labor functions across the board.

Total cost of the implementation of the project will not exceed $1.3 million, and will be a great investment if it works out. In addition, the new server will cost $90,000 per annum in maintenance and upgrades after the first two years.

City Manager Godinez claims that the price tag for the program was set by looking to Fountain Valley’s use of the system and adopting it via a “piggyback provision,” which is a legal and convenient way for cities to get estimates from large projects.

Vice Mayor Patel agreed, saying that sometimes by “piggybacking” public works projects by adopting quotes from large agencies like CalTrans or LA County, cities can save a tremendous amount of time, money and resources on what would have otherwise gone into months or years of research. In addition to the piggybacking ordinance, the El Monte PD researched these systems independently to make sure they would be right for the city. Interim Chief of Police Roger Johnson confirmed this: “[El Monte PD] has been struggling with the current records system; in terms of this type of project they [have gone] out and [looked] for a particular software developer who can provide the needs that we need for the project. … Spillman is a great project, a great organization and they get the job done like we get the job done.”

The server and new police software will be a big boost for the city of El Monte, which is still running Windows 2003 software.

“This will bring us into the 21st century, technologically speaking,” said Nurre.

When it came time to vote, everyone on the dais was convinced that these were the systems the city needed to adopt.

After the presentation Mayor Quintero thanked the police department for their presentation and commented: “[El Monte PD] is the department that has the most resources leading the way for the whole organization. We’re very excited about this. The mapping system will be huge. Hopefully it will be the backbone for the mapping systems used by other departments. Hopefully it will make a huge improvement in our delivery of services and hopefully take us off our reliance on independent services.”

After a unanimous vote from every member of council, Mayor Quintero announced, “And that’s how we usher in the modern era.”

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