West Jeff Police Dept. launches computer aided dispatch

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Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
West Jefferson Mayor Ray Martin (right) administers the oath of office to new part-time police dispatchers Kevin Shop and Rhonda Thompson. Chief Rick Hardy (left) congratulates them.

(Posted Jan. 23, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The West Jefferson Police Department launched its new computer aided dispatch (CAD) system on Jan. 22.

“The goal is to make us more effective and efficient for the community and the village,” said Police Chief Rick Hardy.

Dispatchers keep daily logs of the department’s activities. Now, that information is keyed into the CAD software, which makes for better reporting and refined searches for information.

For example, police personnel can use the CAD system to look for trends in crimes and calls for service by place, time of day, or day of the week. They can look up activities by patrol areas. They can analyze the information to confirm or dispel concerns residents might have about unlawful activity. The possibilities are many, Hardy said.

“It’s all about intelligence-led policing,” he said.

In preparation for the transition to CAD, the police department built up its databases and refined its coding system for crimes and calls for service. Some of the database work included inputting business addresses and phone numbers. Dispatchers can update the information to include, for example, notes on whether an elderly person or person with disabilities lives at a certain address. All of this data is integrated with the CAD software. The result will be quicker recording of calls, quicker dispatch of law enforcement personnel, and better informed law enforcement personnel, Hardy said.

“It’s all part of improving the infrastructure of the village. As this community continues to grow, having these capabilities will improve our service to the community,” he said.

The village is working with Alert Public Safety Solutions out of Columbus, the same CAD system provider used by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, London Police Department, and several local township fire departments, including the Jefferson Township Fire Department, which serves West Jefferson.

Implementation of the CAD system cost just over $100,000 in software and hardware upgrades. The annual licensing fee is $5,000 and includes support, maintenance, and software upgrades.

In other police department news, Mayor Ray Martin administered the oath of office to new part-time police dispatchers, Kevin Shop and Rhonda Thompson, at the Jan. 21 village council meeting.

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