Carroll County’s new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system has been operating since January 17, and as of Tuesday afternoon, the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center 911 dispatch office has received over 600 calls.
In the past, George Gillespie, Carroll County’s 911 manager, could not give specific details like the number of calls the dispatch center received each month. However, that has changed with the installation of the new CAD system. That is one of the features that has and will be helpful for Carroll County’s first responders, according to Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker.
“It will help us collect stats [on the types of calls],” Walker said. “For federal grants, they require stats on the number of calls and that kind of information.”
Gillespie, who has been working for Carroll County Emergency Operations Center since 2008, said prior to the CAD system’s installation, the county kept records of 911 calls by pen and paper, with months of call logs filed in cabinets at the EOC’s office on Highway 35 near Carrollton. However, because of the antiquated method of keeping track, it was impossible to use the information collected during 911 calls to assist the county’s law enforcement in protecting and serving the county.
“[Now,] every call is recorded,” Gillespie said. “When we get a call, we add notes to the system that will be stored.”
Walker said because data from each call is stored inside the system, it can help monitor criminal activity and aid deputies and other law enforcement in receiving pertinent information to protect them from possible threats. For example, if a deputy is sent to a specific address that has been visited by deputies or pulls over a vehicle that has been stopped in the past, the historical data can help prepare them for the unexpected.
“[The CAD system] will show every contact the sheriff’s department has had with a person,” said Walker. “It will monitor criminal activity to help deputies better patrol the county.”
Gillespie said the CAD system is directly linked to deputies on duty as well as all seven of the county’s volunteer fire departments and paramedics. With one push of a button, deputies and Walker will receive a text message embedded with a map to the call location to help quickly locate an address or vehicle in a county made up of more than 600 square miles. The same goes for members of the volunteer fire departments – one button will send messages to every firefighter on the department’s roster.
When a call comes in, Gillespie said dispatchers begin collecting data to assist law enforcement, medical personnel, and firefighters in responding quickly and efficiently. In addition, the dispatcher’s report can be emailed directly to a deputy or fire department to create necessary reports after a call.
“Reports can be printed on every incident,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie said the cellphone monitoring feature is one of the most helpful to first responders because it can “ping” a cellphone within a few feet of its exact location, which is helpful when a motorist is on the interstate or highway.
“We get a lot of location calls,” said Gillespie. “Lots of lost hunters.”
Walker said in the past month, a female motorist’s vehicle broke down on the side of a rural road, and her cellphone did not pick up a signal. Walker said the motorist walked until she found a signal, and dispatch was able to pinpoint her location.
“I think this is a great asset to the county,” Gillespie said, who said the CAD system is just another way the dispatch team can assist law enforcement in keeping the county safe. “The difference [in before the CAD system and now] is the response time and the detailed record-keeping. You put in as many notes as you can. Every time we run a driver’s license or run a tag, it is stored in the data base.”
Walker said keeping historical data is the feature he feels assists his deputies most in performing their duties and keeping them safe.
“Being able to pull up historical data is the most important thing to me,” Walker said. “It is for the safety of the deputies to let them know what they are possibly facing.”
In Monday’s meeting of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, the board voted to connect the Carrollton Courthouse’s fiber line via high speed wireless internet to the EOC to improve the speed of the CAD system.
“That is going to improve response times even more,” Gillespie said.
Carroll County’s 911 dispatch team is made up of Gillespie, Gladys Hodges, Linda McClain, Debbie Houston, Bubba Ross, and Brad Carver.
“We are a team,” Gillespie said. “We just do a job to keep the county safe.”