In an effort to improve emergency dispatch operations, officer response and public safety, the Annapolis, Md., Police recently deployed InterActCAD, InterActGIS and InterActMobile security software. Developed by InterAct Public Safety Systems
, these applications are integral components of the company’s InterAct Connections Framework, providing seamless workflow connections during the full lifecycle of an emergency incident.
With the computer-aided dispatch application InterActCAD, dispatchers can quickly collect and evaluate crucial incident information and effectively respond to calls. The InterActGIS dispatch mapping application displays landmarks, aerial and satellite imagery, and wired and wireless caller locations, facilitating both dispatch and officer response in critical situations. InterActMobile is a complete public safety wireless query and messaging application designed specifically for mobile use. InterActCAD
InterActCAD is a flexible, accurate telecommunications system that efficiently processes and manages emergency calls in dispatch operations. With InterActCAD, incident details are recorded, updated and prioritized, allowing dispatch personnel to quickly identify the appropriate response. Easily customized to fit the needs of any agency, the system provides decreased response time, comprehensive data handling, enhanced interagency data sharing and seamless recording.
InterActCAD’s main screen consists of four primary windows for call tracking or dispatching. The attendant screen is the universal window that monitors active alerts and emergency communications. The second and third screens provide information for resource allocation and management, while the system monitor handles essential operations.
InterActCAD offers seamless integration that works effectively with existing systems and third-party applications such as Priority Dispatch and PowerPhone. Mission-critical performance can be optimized with additional features that include auto listing, color coding and flagging of all incidents based on priority and status order; efficient cursor movement and functions keys that allow one-click access to critical functions; and separate windows for viewing available units, alerts and messages simultaneously.
While the basic version of InterActCAD more than meets the needs of a typical police agency, the company also offers enhanced versions. InterActCADpwc (Public WebCAD) is ideal for larger police agencies that generally have a higher call volume. This system provides RDD feeds for up-to-the-minute notification of incident status, and it offers dispatchers the ability to manage their time more efficiently. In addition, real-time incident data can be published directly to a public Web site.
With InterActCADweb, the system can be accessed from remote locations, sub-stations and backup centers. Emergency and non-emergency calls are quickly and appropriately dispatched, while emergency services personnel have the ability to view incident information prior to arriving on the scene of a CAD call. The Next Generation version of the system (InterActCADtng) delivers optimal data sharing potential and remote dispatch capabilities.
Relevant criminal data pertaining to individuals involved in emerging incidents allows dispatchers to determine which agencies are the most appropriate to successfully handle the situation. The “multi-tenant” structure (available as a hosted or premise-based application that can be distributed from a central location) keeps operating costs to a minimum.
With InterActGIS, dispatchers have the ability to reduce response time and increase productivity. By pinpointing the location of the scene and disclosing critical information regarding the incident, the system provides first responders with the tools needed to effectively handle any emergency situation. This dynamic map display shows caller locations, incidents, units, landmarks and other geo-based items. InterActGIS can operate independently, or be integrated with other InterAct applications, as well as third-party, state and federal systems.
The InterActGIS screen includes a large view of the agency’s detailed map data, in addition to a map inset pane for a wide-area view. Dispatchers have access to simultaneous call and graphical location on a separate, dedicated monitor (when interfaced with InterActCAD); accurate and comprehensive information regarding the caller’s location; and screen layers that show streets, hospitals, parks, railroads and cell towers.
The numerous and varied features of the InterActGIS system enhance dispatcher productivity while increasing responder safety and efficiency. These features include wired and wireless caller location; multiple views of address and place name searches; zoom in, zoom out and pan functionality; views of highlighted cross streets with functional road name listing; dynamic routing and driving directions; impedance routing capability and ability to set barriers for road closures; and integrated aerial and satellite imagery and structure photographs.
InterActCAD can be integrated with the GIS system, pulling map data directly into the computer-aided dispatch application. Dispatchers can create incident reports, perform unit status updates and track pursuit locations. They can also monitor EMS posts, discover call trends or predict future problems. In addition, the event analysis module displays event activity both geographically and texturally. InterActGIS easily interfaces with existing E911 systems and supports all Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) formats.
A complete public safety wireless query and messaging application, InterActMobile uses advanced communications technology and data query methodologies that result in clear, concise responses. Mobile units receiving calls for service are provided with complete information regarding the caller, location, best route and prior incidents. Database queries are easily entered, and hits are highlighted both visually and audibly, according to policy and preference.
Other features include visually optimized touch screen interfacing for mobile use, simultaneous use of multiple wired and wireless infrastructures, and simultaneous access to information systems such as CJIS/NCIC and NLETS.
InterActMobile provides seamless integration with multiple CAD systems, including InterAct CAD, InterActGIS and InterActRMS. All incident data flows from the CAD to the field and directly into the RMS, eliminating the need to re-enter it.
Case Study: Annapolis Police
Seeking to upgrade their dispatch and communications technology, the Annapolis Police were looking for a system that offered full integration capabilities. Because the department’s existing CAD system did not have that capability, it was necessary to find one that did. Requests for Information were sent out to various CAD vendors, and after narrowing the search, the APD requested in-house demonstrations from the vendors that met their specifications.
According to Beth Hart, special projects director for the APD, “InterAct was chosen because it would integrate with our records management system—something most vendors do not have the capability of doing. It was the ease and speed of integration that ‘tipped the scales’ for us.”
The APD’s Director of Communications, Lieutenant Tim Seipp, agrees. “We chose InterAct to replace our CAD as we needed to integrate with various other systems, i.e., our Records Management System (Denali inPursuit) and our Motorola Premier MDC mobile vehicle application.” Seipp also pointed to another determining factor in choosing InterAct: Their pricing came in below their competitors. All three systems, InterActCAD, InterActGIS and InterActMobile, are now fully integrated with the department’s existing systems.
Founded in 1975, InterAct offers customized comprehensive public safety solutions to more than 2,000 government agencies and private companies worldwide. The company structure consists of the following divisions: executive, technology (engineering), sales, customer care, and finance and business development.
The customer care team is on hand 24/7, 365 days a year, providing top-quality technical support. Every system is built from the ground up in the company staging area to meet client specifications. Once constructed, the systems are passed along to the Quality Assurance department for thorough testing.
Committed to active participation in the industry, InterAct has helped to shape best practices within the public safety sector. The company is presently offering a $1.5 million stimulus grant-matching program for public safety agencies that plan to upgrade their mission-critical systems by June of 2011. More information can be accessed at www.interact911.com.
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Florida. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of Jay Morakis and the Annapolis PD.