Dallas to pay $14M to overhaul dispatch system

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digitalanalog

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By Tanya Eiserer
The Dallas Morning News
April 22, 2008

DALLAS — Dallas technology officials told City Council members that it will take over a year and more than $14 million to resolve problems related to the installation of Dallas' new emergency dispatch system.

A briefing before the city's public safety committee Monday detailed a litany of problems plaguing the system: firefighters sent to wrong addresses, crews directed to incidents when others were closer, and emergency workers inadvertently told to disregard emergency calls when help actually was needed.

Police officers also have released wanted suspects they were questioning because information on their outstanding warrants arrived too late.

The problems started immediately after the nearly $6 million system went online in August.

"I'm extremely disappointed that we have so many problems," Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia, chairwoman of the public safety committee, told city staffers.

Council member Mitchell Rasansky put it more bluntly. "I don't have confidence in what we're doing," he said.

"This is absolute insanity."

The decision to brief the public safety committee came after a Dallas Morning News story in early March revealed that many of the new dispatch problems are related to the way the new system links to older equipment.

When the city decided to replace its 35-year-old homegrown emergency dispatch system with the automated one created by San Diego-based TriTech, it decided not to spend millions of dollars on the mobile software system that would allow the computers in emergency vehicles to easily communicate with City Hall.

The city instead opted to build a bridge between the old and new systems for about $640,000.

City officials have since reversed course and decided to buy TriTech's mobile software.

Worris Levine, the city's director of communication and information services, told committee members that the city plans to start a pilot project to test TriTech's mobile software in the city's police and fire vehicles.

If the test goes well, the city expects to begin installing the new mobile software in vehicles this summer.

Of the more than $14 million needed to resolve the problems, nearly $6.2 million was already budgeted during the current fiscal year, city documents show.

City officials are asking for about $7.8 million more for next fiscal year.

The cost includes a projected $5.5 million for the TriTech mobile software and related expenses.

About $715,000 is needed to make the speakers at the city's fire stations function properly.

Still, council member Dave Neumann said the amount of money being spent on the project makes him nervous.

"I'm wondering how much more money we're going to have to pour into it," he said.

Source: www.policeone.com
 

SCPD

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WOW! 14 Million Could go a long way for DPD/DFR. Dump the new system and Buy NEW radios - Better yet, HIRE MORE POLICE OFFICERS!
 

RESCUE4NFD

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I hope whatever they buy,It will be scanner friendly.I know people won't want to hear this,but I like the way Dallas Police Channels are setup,I can hear all the Divisions with NO problems..The Covert Division on the Dallas City Trunk System seems to be OK.but not as good as the 460.000 Freq.'s....Now Dallas Fire/Rescue is bad,They need more Fireground Channels to work off of.Back in the late 1970's when I first started scanning DFR I dont know how the dispatcher could keep up with dispatching,putting units on scene,and having Fireground all on 1 channel,,,Just my thoughts on DPD,and DFR.I just hope that If DFR goes to a Trunk System it works better than the "TRUNK SYSTEM" they tried a few years .....
 

letarotor

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Don't hold your breath Mike, the City of Dallas can't afford a new pair of gym shoes let alone a 100 million dollar digital trunked radio system. Too many tax waivers to lure business to Dallas. Plus, the priority at City Hall is not public safety, its water! Yes, they will eventually have to make the switch, as the Radio Shop won't be able to buy parts to keep the equipment they have now in service. Those fellas down there under the big tower are miracle workers and I tip my hat to them often. Personally, I don't see the city making any kind of switch for at least a decade. It will take that long just to get what they want to buy through the City bureaucracy in that rediculous upside down building near the bronze cows and reflecting pool with bad sculptures!

Mark
 

SCPD

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This is obvious Mark, NE is out of Control. Gang's rule the city, Homicide is very high (average of 2.4 killed a day) DISD is hiding records and cheez is busy killing folks. the 14 million dollar computer system is a joke - letting wanted and dangerous people walk and putting officers in jepordy medical response is slower citywide. But Hey Dallas Homeowners have the GREENEST LAWNS in the state! not to mention the NICEST PARKS along the trinity river.

An "upside down" building for a City Hall should be a key Indicator of an "upside down" city.
 
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SCPD

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Just Courious, Has this Computer system been deployed to any other agency with a simular radio infra-structure as the City of Dallas? and If so, did the other agency have these types of problems? or did Dallas go "out on a limb" and purchase this with little or no research because some Executive Sales guy had a Nice presentation?
 

RESCUE4NFD

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Maybe Garland can sell the City of Dallas their MESH System..LOL..There was a story today in the Dallas Newspaper(Garland Edition) about what a bad system that Garland bought a few years ago.There are antennas on power poles and street lights all over Garland that are now for "LOOKS" only. I put a link to this story on DFWSCAN..
 

musicman476

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Will be interesting to see what Dallas ends up with. Here's hoping they don't put themselves even farther behind technologically!

btw, here's a pic of Dallas City Hall for those who haven't seen it. (DPD Memorial is in the foreground)
 

SCPD

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The SAME building the movie ROBO-COP used as a Police Department in ROBO-COP I. however they Called it Detroit!

I believe this building has a sister on Stemmons Freeway occupied by a few airline companies, I think it was the Old Branniff Offices. Except the building cones the opposit of City Hall.

BOTH of the Above are BAD OMENS!
 

hiegtx

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MaxTracker said:
I believe this building has a sister on Stemmons Freeway occupied by a few airline companies, I think it was the Old Branniff Offices. Except the building cones the opposit of City Hall.

BOTH of the Above are BAD OMENS!
Max,
Braniff had on over on Harry Hines, & the Stew Zoo on Cedar Springs.

You're thinking of the one that Delta (Don't Ever Leave The Airport} leased on the northbound side of I-35E, between Mockingbird & Empire Central. It was a call center, &, I think that indeed a different airline used it before or after them, but I'm drawing a blank which one.
 

bownasterm

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Mike, I take it Plano's MESH system is going to end up being in the gutter aswell...they just recently installed those fancy antennas on every other street light.
 

garys

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I've only seen one uglier City Hall, and that's in Boston!

Back on topic. Tritech is one of the better known CAD systems out there. To me, it sounds like the city wanted to cheap out and buy a bargain basement CAD/Records Management system. They got what they paid for. Computer Aided Dispatch systems with good mobile software and hardware can be a real asset to officers on the street. Or EMTs and fire fighters for that matter.

My guess is that Tritech recommended against this kluge of a system but did the best they could when the city insisted. Penny wise and pound foolish, like most purchasing agents.

Gary
 

n5ims

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Dallas city hall. Still looks like an overgrown cooling tower to me.
 

hiegtx

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garys said:
I've only seen one uglier City Hall, and that's in Boston!

Back on topic. Tritech is one of the better known CAD systems out there. To me, it sounds like the city wanted to cheap out and buy a bargain basement CAD/Records Management system. They got what they paid for. Computer Aided Dispatch systems with good mobile software and hardware can be a real asset to officers on the street. Or EMTs and fire fighters for that matter.

My guess is that Tritech recommended against this kluge of a system but did the best they could when the city insisted. Penny wise and pound foolish, like most purchasing agents.

Gary
Gary.
You basically got it right. Penny wise & pound foolish.

What the city did was buy only the dispatching CAD system, then had their in-house programmers try to bridge that to the older mobile computers in the actual police & fire units in the field (not sure if the dispatchers' consoles were replaced). Doesn't work. If the 'run' does not come up on the MDT screen for a fire or EMS apparatus, the dispatcher cannot re-send the information to them. You hear a lot of barely restrained frustration on the radio, when an engine company or ems unit asks for an update, & gets reminded that it can't be done, the have to keep hitting certain keystrokes, or "660" (dispatch) will read it back over the air if all else fails.

The other area where they cut corners was in loading address information. The system rejects valid locations for PD & FD calls, because they were not loaded into it's database. Examples include alternate road names, major buildings, shopping centers, etc, that are extremely well known locally.

You may have heard about the Dallas PD motorcycle officer that died in a traffic crash, when his cycle hit the curb on a curve & he crashed into wall while escorting Hillary's motorcade. This was on the Houston Street Viaduct, a name that bridge has had since it was built about 100 years ago. The new system never heard of it, & would not accept or dispatch the run for fire/ems. Took over ten minutes to get a rescue unit (Dallas Fire Rescue's term for an EMS unit) sent to the scene. By one media account, that only happened because an officer saw a DFR unit a couple blocks away & diverted them to the site.

Like you said, penny wise & pound very foolish.
 

SCPD

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hiegtx said:
Max,
Braniff had on over on Harry Hines, & the Stew Zoo on Cedar Springs.

You're thinking of the one that Delta (Don't Ever Leave The Airport} leased on the northbound side of I-35E, between Mockingbird & Empire Central. It was a call center, &, I think that indeed a different airline used it before or after them, but I'm drawing a blank which one.
Luthansia (pardon the spelling) and someone else, there were three airlines in that building. Amazing I know buildings and airlines and am NOT on the no fly list.

TSA - Eat your heart out!
 

hiegtx

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Yep, believe Lufthansa was one. For some reason, I keep thinking of Singapore Airlines as the third part of the trifecta..
 
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