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Dispatching system may get upgrade

by Larry Chowning

Middlesex County Emergency Services Director David Layman and others have requested the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors appropriate $156,000 for a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system for the county.

At the July 3 board meeting, Layman said the current dispatch technology being used is 20 years old and at the end of its life. He also said this was the proper time to install a new CAD system as the county is having a new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) installed in the phone systems of all county offices.

Middlesex County Director of Information and Technology Kevin Gentry had earlier announced that installation of the Voice over IP in all county offices will be complete and online in August.

Layman said if a new CAD system is installed before the switchover to the new VoIP, it would only require disrupting the dispatchers one time when the new phone system is turned on.

He also said the firm interested in installing CAD would honor a “very reasonable” 2015 price quote if supervisors would agree to do it now. “If we decide to do this we will have a very well-rounded system,” said Layman.

Dispatcher supervisor Eileen Koehl said the CAD system will help police and emergency services personnel share information with other jurisdictions; allow police officers to obtain criminal information from their cars; expedite finger printing, booking and taking prisoners to jail; and expedite pre-arrival instructions for emergency services personnel during a call. “We need to give our dispatchers the tools to do the job right,” said Koehl.

Board chair Chip Holt said he felt this is the right time to install the CAD system and also noted the county had the funds to pay for it.

County administrator Matt Walker noted the school system will return $115,000 of un-used school funds from the FY17 budget. There were $75,000 of local funds returned and $40,000 in state funds because the school system under-estimated school enrollment numbers for budget purposes. Walker said these funds could be used to help fund the CAD system.

posted 07.11.2018

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