Every day emergency communications centers around the world handle tens of thousands of calls. The ability to capture these communications and actions is critical to understanding what really happened. Recordings can make or break investigations, and provide compelling and irrefutable evidence in court. It’s no wonder then that 9-1-1 centers often process upwards of a hundred audio reproduction requests a month. Requests come from all directions: investigators, DAs, public defenders, private attorneys, the media, even private citizens. The problem is – far too many centers still rely on outdated technology and inefficient processes to do this work, which wastes time, and creates unnecessary backlogs and costs.
The typical process of producing audio reproductions can be quite taxing. No one knows this better than Karin Marquez, Communications Supervisor for the Westminster (CO) Police Department. Westminster PD is one of the first agencies in the U.S. to deploy
new technology from NICE (NICE Inform Elite) which integrates the department’s NICE recording and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems. As a result of the initiative,
Westminster saw an immediate 50% improvement in efficiency and time savings. Now, their audio records custodians can process reproduction requests in hours instead of business days.
As a supervisor, Marquez has always been accustomed to working in multiple systems to do her job. Prior to deploying NICE Inform Elite she had to go back and forth between the CAD and the recording system to process reproduction requests.
“We’d get a request from a detective or the DA’s office for all the 9-1-1 calls associated with a case, and we’d first have to go into CAD and read through the chronology to verify when the call came in, what position it came in on, as well as looking for any subsequent calls that may have come in on other positions,” she said. “Then we’d have to log on to the recording system separately, and search for each and every call by time, date and position, and listen to them. It was a highly manual process, and prone to error.”
Now, when Marquez receives requests, she simply logs on to NICE Inform Elite, types in a case number, and the system instantly retrieves all of the related audio recordings. The recordings are merged onto a timeline, along with CAD event data showing a complete chronology of the event – including when calls came in, and when units were dispatched and arrived on scene.
“It takes the guesswork out of trying to match CAD records to audio recordings – it does it for me automatically,” she added.
“It gives me time back, and allows me to reproduce incidents a lot faster so requesters don’t have to wait five, six or seven days. Oftentimes, I can provide audio reproductions the same day, even within five minutes if there’s a rush.”
So what does Marquez do with all that extra time?
Every center across the country is short staffed, she explains. “As supervisors, we juggle many responsibilities outside of the floor and operations. Now I can manage the floor better, I can meet my other deadlines, I can cover the radio, and maybe even go home on time. The time you get back can always be used for something better.”
Check out this video case study on the City of Westminster (CO) Police Department Emergency Communications Center to see first-hand how Ms. Marquez says her agency is benefitting from NICE Inform Elite.