Saratoga County

Saratoga County upgrades 911 dispatching

$2 million system provides new real-time information to responders
A Saratoga County vehicle responds to shots fired on Jan. 28. Dispatch upgrades will aid police.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
A Saratoga County vehicle responds to shots fired on Jan. 28. Dispatch upgrades will aid police.

SARATOGA COUNTY — The police, firefighters and medical personnel who respond to emergency calls in Saratoga County now have access to more information as they go to a call, and get it more quickly.

A $2 million upgrade to Saratoga County’s 911 emergency dispatching system that gives them electronic access to more computer data bases has gone into operation after three years of development, county officials said Monday.

The upgrade is bringing computer-aided dispatch systems to the county. That should allow better coordination among emergency responders, and also improve the management of public safety records, county officials said. It will also interlink the emergency communications systems in Saratoga County with those in Albany and Rensselaer counties.

“One of the major highlights of this project is the 911 call center’s ability to process calls more efficiently and rapidly, essentially shaving critical seconds of the time it takes between when our 911 center receives a call for service to the dispatching of emergency personnel to the scene,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo. “Our deputies are now safer on patrol because of this new software.”

County officials said they are the first in the state to implement all aspects of the new technology system. The system will also allow the three participating counties to dispatch for each other during a larger emergency, one that overwhelms a dispatch center with calls, or an emergency that takes a dispatching center out of service.

“We are confident this new system will provide a higher and more efficient level of service that our residents deserve and expect,” said Halfmoon Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors.

The system is being funded through a $2 million state grant awarded to the county Office of Emergency Services. Developed by public safety software company CentralSquare Technologies of Florida, the system allows for field-based reporting by responders, and a mobile app that allows first-responders to receive real-time situational updates from a dispatch or command center.

The Saratoga Springs police dispatching center is also equipped to use the CAD system, and other local police departments that handle their own dispatching will be available to participate once they purchase the needed equipment, county officials said.

The records management system allows responders to access information related to a person or address while an incident is occuring.

“As the county grows, we need to be prepared and utilize new technology,” said county Public Safety Committee Chairman Bill Peck, R-Northumberland. “It’s critical we provide all emergency services with the necessary tools to respond to emergencies and protect the public.”

Peck said the system includes integrated mapping, which directs first responders reliably to the correct call location and the quickest route to reach it.

“This new software connects emergency responders on the road to the dispatch center, while giving them on-demand access to a records system to better prepare them as they respond to a call or emergency,” said Carl Zeilman, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management. “This new tool will undoubtedly improve response time and better prepare first-responders who answer calls for assistance.”

The systems upgrade has been in the works since 2016, using money from the state Department of Homeland Security’s statewide interoperable communications grant program. That money is available to enhance communications networks between counties.

 

The sheriff’s dispatching center handled 86,243 calls to 911 in 2018, according to the Office of Emergency Services.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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