The news outlets are all abuzz this week with news about Pope Francis’ historic U.S. visit. He has already been welcomed to the White House by President Obama, and today becomes the first-ever Pope to address Congress. Then it’s on to the next stop (New York City), followed by the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ where he’ll visit the birthplace of American democracy (Independence Mall) and partake in the World Meeting of Families.
The papal visit to Philadelphia is expected to draw an estimated 1 to 2 million visitors, and with this massive influx comes an anticipated need for more emergency services. Accordingly, the Philadelphia Police Department (PD) has added more feet on the street, and is also gearing up to handle additional 911 calls. It is doubling the number of operators on duty, extending shifts, and putting a second 911 center (a backup center that’s normally used for training) into temporary service.
Beyond securing extra staff, and getting them to work longer hours, putting the added 911 center in service also required extra equipment – not just to process the calls, but to record them as well. A number of public safety solution companies, including NICE, stepped up to the plate to donate the necessary equipment. NICE has also offered the services of a technician in the Philadelphia area for the duration of the Pope’s visit, if extra support is needed.
“The Philadelphia Police Department has been a NICE customer for over a decade,” said NICE Public Safety Account Manager Chris Gallahan. “When they approached me about the Pope’s visit in July, and their need for recording at a backup site I knew it was a great opportunity to help a longtime customer. So I brought this up to the NICE Management Team and there was a quick and resounding response: “yes!”
NICE began work to install the donated recording equipment in early August and completed the job on August 30th, well in advance of the Pope’s visit.
When the papal visit ends, plans will already be underway for the next big event. According to Sgt. Gregory Masi, the Philadelphia Police Department is already looking into employing the same setup next year when Philadelphia hosts the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Read more stories about Philadelphia PDs’ preparations for the Pope’s historic U.S. visit by clicking on a link below: