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If you want to compare the number of citations your agency issued in one month to another month, how would you get the information? One option is searching your RMS – most modern Records Management Systems have the ability to search records by time, name, or location. But what if your agency is interested in looking at the bigger picture and really diving into trends? You might have to manually check records one by one. And if you want to analyze this information on the fly, or develop a report on crime and trends for a local government office or for a citizen because of a FOIA request, this most likely means valuable man hours spent by staff in your agency.
Thanks to SunGard Public Sector’s new Public Connect solution, this paradigm is shifting. Public Connect, powered by Socrata’s open data expertise, was developed by SunGard to address a growing need in the public safety community. The tool, which closely aligns with SunGard’s safety data standards and the White House’s Police Data Initiative, allows agencies to catalog data such as how officers are used, where they respond, and what they respond to. The resulting data is easily accessible, searchable, and indexable for other individuals within an agency or outside it.
“When I first saw Public Connect in action, I was stunned by the breadth of information that was available,” said Lieutenant Jon Moses, Johns Creek Police Department. “All the relevant crime stats, and information about our agency, were just a click away.”
Johns Creek Police Department in Johns Creek, GA is an early adopter of the Public Connect solution and is exploring some of the different ways they can learn about themselves by analyzing the data they’re collecting. “Public Connect gives us an opportunity to visualize the data in a way we couldn’t before,” added Lt. Moses. “We could see for example that responses to house alarms spike in July every year. We coordinate that information through our dispatch during that time of year to ensure officers will be where they need to be when they need to be there.”
Johns Creek’s Public Connect solution, called “Police View” by the agency is now online and can be seen here: https://policeview.johnscreekga.gov/.
The general public can benefit from Public Connect, too. The tool is very customizable depending on an agency’s needs, and can be configured for public use. Some agencies may set up online portals to allow the public to search police data quickly, potentially removing the need for FOIA requests.
“One of the benefits to us is that it was cost-neutral to implement,” added Lt. Moses. “It’s a new tool that provides new functionalities for our agency, but it also gives us an opportunity to consolidate or retire other assets.”
Click to download the complete case study.
It’s late at night and a local 9-1-1 dispatcher receives a call from an alarm company to report a burglary in progress in a local home. The dispatcher enters the details into the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, which sends a team of officers to the address to apprehend the suspect. When the officers arrive at the house, something doesn’t look right; there’s no activity to be seen in the house. The house in question is in a rural part of town, so the front door is unlocked and the officers decide to draw their weapons and enter the residence. The only problem is, they are at the wrong location; the dispatcher had mistakenly input the address incorrectly in the CAD system! Imagine the embarrassment for that local law enforcement agency as they had to explain to the frightened homeowner they were simply at the wrong address. Imagine how that scenario could have been much, much worse had the homeowner been armed and reacted out of fear.
This isn’t just a hypothetical… it’s a situation that has occurred repeatedly in recent years. 9-1-1 calls, even from alarm companies, are susceptible to human error. That’s why in 2005, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) partnered to develop the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP).
The first ASAP CAD interface was written by Bill Hobgood, a project manager on the public safety team for the City of Richmond, VA’s IT Department. “I was invited to an APCO conference in 2004 to talk about ways we could eliminate the millions of phone calls from alarm companies to PSAPs. Terry Hall, Director of the York County, VA PSAP, and Pam Petrow, now CEO & President of Vector Security, asked if we could automate the process, and I said it was possible. After a brief two-year development period we launched the first pilot,” Bill recalled. Bill’s hometown, Richmond, is now an ASAP operator.
ASAP was first piloted July 2006 in York County, VA and August 2006 in Richmond, VA with Vector Security. Soon thereafter, James City County, VA became the first of many SunGard Public Sector customers to go live with ASAP. Most recently, Guilford County, NC began using ASAP with its SunGard Public Sector CAD system, as did Boca Raton, FL. Both agencies are anticipating a massive reduction in the number of calls its 9-1-1 operators receive; some estimates from Guilford County suggest the telecommunicators will handle 20,000 fewer calls per year! Across the country, ASAP is operational in more than 13 PSAPs and SunGard Public Sector has helped support the cause; nearly half of these PSAPs – like Boca Raton and Guilford County – are SunGard Public Sector customers using ONESolution CAD. ASAP is thriving in major cities like Houston, TX, Richmond, VA, and Washington, D.C. It’s not just PSAPs who are on board; 8 of the 10 largest alarm companies – including the largest, ADT – are participating in the rollout, with more to join. There’s no doubt that ASAP is the way of the future for PSAPs and alarm companies.
ASAP has become noticeably better since being implemented across the country. Call processing time from alarm company calls typically takes two to three minutes. With the implementation of ASAP, that time is reduced to a few seconds, which means departments can respond to alarms faster and more efficiently, with the certainty that they’re also more accurate.
They are not the only beneficiaries; 9-1-1 telecommunicators are finding the reduction in call volume allows them to focus on the calls received from their citizens and getting help to the point of need for these potentially more serious or life-threatening calls faster. There have been financial benefits too; in Houston they’ve seen more than $400,000 in savings thanks to a reduced call volume after implementing ASAP.
“One of the main reasons for ASAP’s early success has been our tremendous partnership with SunGard Public Sector,” Hobgood noted. “Not only has integration with SunGard Public Sector’s ONESolution CAD been involved in nearly half of ASAP implementations to-date, they’ve also been evangelists of the system, and helped their own customers realize the benefits of reduced call volume for PSAPs. Thanks to their advocacy, PSAPs across the country are increasingly looking into implementing ASAP in the near future.”
ASAP has been tremendously helpful in reducing telephone calls from alarm companies to 9-1-1 centers, eliminating miscommunications between alarm operators and 9-1-1 dispatchers, and reducing 9-1-1 center processing times to generate enhanced responses from police, fire, and medical responders. SunGard Public Sector is pleased to help agencies like Guilford County, NC integrate ASAP into their existing SunGard CAD system to realize these benefits. For more information on SunGard Public Sector’s ONESolution CAD offering, please click here.
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Local governments, public safety and justice agencies, non-profit organizations, and the citizens they serve can envision the future happening today with SunGard Public Sector.