Granite Falls police want 'computer-age dispatch'

Apr. 30, 2014 @ 07:15 AM

The Granite Falls Police Department wants a new computerized system for keeping tracks of calls, officers and more.

Police Chief Ritch Bolick presented a $43,400 proposal for a new system to the town council at Monday’s budget workshop. The Southern Software system, known as a Police-Pak, would replace the software the police department has been using for 14 years. Bolick said that the existing system is known as a “beefed-up spreadsheet” around the office.

Bolick said that the new system, which is classified as a computer-aided dispatch, or CAD, would allow dispatchers to manage calls from citizens and officers better, because “sometimes, it gets a little hectic” as “everything happens at the same time,” Bolick said.

“We’ll be better able to provide officer safety because there is a reminder system when an officer checks out on certain types of calls,” Bolick told the council. “In two minutes, it’ll remind you to check on the officer. It helps remind the dispatcher.”

The system also prompts dispatchers on typical questions to ask for certain types of calls, Bolick said. "Sometimes, someone could be here for five years and be exposed to a lot of things, but you hear someone screaming on the other end of the phone and your mind kind of goes blank as to what to ask. So, it gives you a little checklist as you go to ask those questions,” he said.

Police-Pak also has a mapping system that would be helpful during severe weather and can store rotation records, security logs and other documents in a single secure location.

“That’s a pretty good upgrade. We’ve gotten good use out of what we’ve used this module for so far, but I think . . . we can’t get any better unless we change to this computer-age dispatch,” Bolick said.

The Granite Falls Town Council will meet again on May 19 for a formal budget presentation and will hold a public hearing June 16.