In Early March, Macon-Bibb E-911 began using a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system that came with New World’s public safety software that was purchased as part of consolidation. The entire New World system cost approximately $2 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds that were set aside for public safety.
According to E-911 Director Captain Donnie Self, the new system will show dispatchers in the Center the closest unit that can respond to a call based on maps showing vehicle locations in real time. This will help reduce call response times by dispatching the closest responder.
“We can help our responders get to a call faster, which allows us to improve the safety of the public. Additionally, we can help protect the safety of our responders because we will know where they are at all times,” adds Captain Self. “If an officer is checking on something and we can’t get a response from them, we’ll know where their vehicle is located so assistance can be dispatched.”
“In the past few years, we have made a significant upgrades in our public safety equipment and technology so that our emergency responders have the tools needed to best protect our community,” says Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert. “From the new 800 MHz radio system to new vehicles to this new software, 911 Dispatchers, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Fire Department are better prepared to respond when needed.”
The system was designed with ‘build teams’ from E-911, the Fire Department, and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. The IT Department helped take the work done by the build teams and bring their systems together in the New World system so that there would be seamless communication between each of the agencies.
“This has been a two-year process for all of law enforcement and emergency responders, and it’s one we’re very proud of,” says Captain Self. “We all worked together to build this system to meet our needs, and we’ve gone through significant training to make sure we use it properly.”
“We are very excited about this new technology which will allow us to better communicate with our dispatch center. It’s going to be invaluable to the fire officer and firefighters as they travel to and mitigate emergencies every day. Our new mapping and GPS systems should enable us to better locates water mains and hydrants on streets that are vague or unfamiliar to some of our younger staff members,” says Macon-Bibb County Fire Department Chief Marvin Riggins. “Having vital information in a timely fashion to make decisions based on critical and complex situations is a tool that is priceless!”
“We are excited about the implementation of this new CAD system. The ability to determine what unit may be closest to a call will help deputies respond quicker to incidents, and help keep them safer by identifying the closest backup units,” says Bibb County Sheriff David Davis. “We’re also looking forward to fully integrating the system into our new records management program. Deputies will have at their fingertips a complete set of data for an incident, from the original call to investigation to resolution.”
Right now, dispatchers contact the emergency responder using radios on Macon-Bibb County’s 800 MHz radio system, but the plan is to install Mobile Data Terminals in sheriff and fire vehicles. Some sheriff vehicles already have the MDTs, and the Fire Department is in the process of purchasing them. Captain Self hopes that all vehicles will be equipped in the next 6-12 months. Once installed, E911 Dispatchers can provide information about the call to a computer in the vehicle and across the radio. Responders will also receive detailed maps of the quickest routes to the call.
“In 35 years working with public safety systems, the development and rollout of this CAD system had some of the best collaboration and dedicated effort I have ever experienced,” says Macon-Bibb’s new Chief Information Officer, Brett Lavender.
Creating Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Communities is one of the five Focus Areas in Macon-Bibb County’s award-winning Forward Together Strategic Plan. By improving response times for emergency responders and being able to locate them in real-time is another way in which Macon-Bibb is using SPLOST funds to improve public safety. For more information about how SPLOST funds are being spent, visit http://splost.info.
About the Macon-Bibb E911 Center
The E-911 Center only served the former city limits as part of the Macon Police Department prior to consolidation. In January 2014, it became a county wide department and a had a 16% increase in call volume and 18% increase in dispatch calls in its first year. Also during that first year, it helped with the installation of the more advanced 800 MHz communication system. Because of the increase in its workload and coverage area, having to learn a new computer system, and helping install a new communication system, it was named the 9-1-1 Center of the Year in March 2015 by the Georgia Association of Public Safety Communication Officers (APCO) and the Georgia Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).