A new system Owensboro-Daviess County 911 is purchasing with a $120,000 state grant will streamline the process that dispatchers use to gather information about emergency calls. City-county 911 Director Paul Nave said the call processing system was purchased with a grant from the Kentucky 911 Board. When the system is installed, Nave said, dispatchers will have a checklist of questions to ask about specific emergencies. For example, if the 911 call is for a robbery, the system will bring up a list of yes or no questions the dispatcher will ask the caller. As those questions are answered, the system will automatically send the information to the dispatch center’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, and to the mobile data terminals in responders’ vehicles. Similar sets of questions will be included for fire calls as well, Nave said. The idea behind the system is that the questions will help dispatchers gather all the necessary questions about a call.
“Stress is inherent to every job, but it’s particularly inherent to the high-priority calls we have,” he said. The system “standardizes the call-taking process,” Nave said. “When you’re in a situation where you’re extremely busy … sometimes you may forget to ask something. This system allows (dispatchers) to be consistent every single time.” Having yes or no questions will eliminate the need for dispatchers to type out the caller’s answers, Nave said.
The questions will be crafted to fit the needs of the community. While dispatchers will ask the questions, they do not have to stick exclusively to the list.”It doesn’t box you into processing the call,” Nave said.”This is more for high-priority calls,” where responder safety is a concern, Nave said. “… The ultimate goal is anything we do is for the community. We are always trying to get officers needed information so they can do their jobs.”The system is part of a larger upgrade of the CAD system. Nave said in addition to call processing and the CAD upgrade, the dispatch center is also adding a text-to-speech function.
Those upgrades will be rolled individually, so dispatchers aren’t trying to learn all three systems at once, Nave said.”We are going to implement this with the new CAD, but we want to implement things in phases,” Nave said. “I think I would be doing an injustice to the team members I work with do all this at once. It would be an overload of information.”
Nave said the goal is to bring the call processing or text to speech function online early next year, whichever is ready first, followed by the other and eventually the CAD upgrade.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse