Surprised that Police and / or Fire do not have GPS

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stchamber11

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Listening in on Berlin, Cromwell, RH, Newgt, Wethers, Middletn, and New Brit, I am surprised on the dirctions given from dispatch. I would have thought Police cars with their laptops etc would have GPS. The cost of GPS would now be 100 bucks per car. There must be a reason other than cost.
 
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N_Jay

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1) Integration with the systems already running on the laptop/terminal.
2) The decision to have GPS

Or is that #2 then #1?
 

KB1JHU

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There are a lot of factors that can be involved other than cost. Some of the folks in charge in many areas are "old school" and may be hesitant to use some of the newer technologies because they are unfamiliar with them (I know GPS has been around a long time, but some people think that it's some crazy new techno-gadget and are afraid of it). There is also the reliability of the system. As you increase the complexity of a system, you increase the number of places that things can go wrong or fail. Integrated GPS (working through a laptop/MDT) can become useless if something unrelated in the laptop/MDT fails. Weather can affect GPS signals reducing accuracy. Consumer units are great for traveling but can not be customized to integrate local knowledge of certain areas. GPS units may point you through an area you don't want to go through at rush hour (sometimes there are intersections you just want to avoid at any time with an emergency vehicle). While a lot of this newer technology is great and makes things easier, relying too much on it can lead to forgetting how to work without it and then when it fails, you're screwed. Many towns still use map books or books that give written directions from HQ to a particular street/block.
 

blantonl

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There is also:

1) Training
2) Policy and Procedure

Those two alone are significant cost factors.
 

stchamber11

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This all sounds like good reasons. I suppose it could be the same as small aircraft pilots must learn to land and navigate using instruments, then with out. Possibly, they may use GPS or rather a mapping system back at dispatch. I bring this up as there was a robbery and the address was 359 something...a few cars responded back and forth giving directions only to have 6 minutes later the cop saying he was at 259. Dispatch came back saying "that was 359". All in all, I am new hearing all this and overthinking what these people do everyday.
 

izzyj4

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As a fire apparatus driver in the State of Connecticut I'm more concerned with making sure I get my rig and my crew to the scene and also keeping my eyes on the road. It is much easier asking dispatch "which way does the IC want us to come in" rather than trying to fiddle with a GPS unit. Besides, the driver should know where he / she is going and know their first due / patrol areas. GPS only gives you a "direct route" to a location and has to be constantly updated where as looking at a map before getting in the rig and also lets your "shotgun" rider read out where you have to go.

Yes GPS is a great tool but sometimes it is not necessary.
 

jb872033

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Well said izzyj4, They have enough to worry about without having to use a GPS. I have come across GPS giving the wrong direction, or due to construction making a 10 minute trip last much longer than than that. I think as with everything else in the public safety sector its another risk/reward analysis, and the status quo works well in this situation.

Just my 2cs

JB
 

kmacinct

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Gps

Ever see how really 'up to date' your commercial GPS is?

Take a look at Google Maps or BING Maps and I can find you dozens of places that are wrong, dont exist etc. Plenty of CSP cars have ended up in the woods etc, due to the fact they were relying on their Car Systems. . . . .

The only real "GOOD" public Safety GPS system would be an MDT integrated with a GIS System - and of course GIS Systems are Expensive, need to be maintained and need connectivity most of the time.

Great idea, technology is there - Cost Cost Cost Cost
 

freightguy

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Hunters Ambulance has it available to their dispatchers on the ambulances in the field. I've heard the crews saying that they couldn't find the turn on the map, and the dispatchers came back saying "we show you on N. **** Street, turn around and go back to the Stop sign and make a right; it should be your first left".

Must be a low cost Lo-Jack system to track stolen vehicles from the dispatch center.
 

cg

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Too many users blindly follow a GPS to a destination. No big deal if you are going to Walmart the next town over but for emergency services, it is very risky. I suppose with the number of people who barely know right and left, forget about north and south, it is better than asking them to read a map.

Many companies/agencies that need vehicle location use cellular based systems. You can have a ATT cellular based tracker for less than $20/ month. Some systems will run on your servers getting info from ATT over the web directly, others use a company who's customized website you use to track your units.

chris
 

rwwheat

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Once upon a time dispatchers were veteran police officers who were familiar with the geography of the beat from years of experience. Those dispatchers knew the routes and could give turn by turn directions rarely referring to a map. Maps were rarely required but were readily available on the dispatch desktop if needed.
Another advantage of seasoned police officer veterans being dispatchers was their second sense of being able to interpret voice inflections and personalities of field officers. They could and did anticipate a situation was about to go bad and send backup before the situation escalated.

Technology is a great thing. but not a replacement for experience and training. Combining the best of both worlds is the right answer
 
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N_Jay

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Once upon a time dispatchers were veteran police officers who were familiar with the geography of the beat from years of experience.
Still true in some agencies, was true in other agencies, and was never true in still other agencies.

The whole, "if you have not been on the street you can not dispatch" is kind of old-school.

But there are agencies who feel they can not combine Police and Fire dispatch for this very reason. Yet there are other departments that have integrated non-sworn dispatch and all is well.

All sort of off-topic. Too many people think of consumer GPS when they read about GPS in a dispatch system. The operation and use is very different. The days where only experience would teach you that you can only get to Mrs. Jones barn from the Smith's farm off West End Rd. even though Mrs. Johns farm has a South Pond Rd. address are long gone.

Map books are quickly being replaced with on-line mapping systems, and GPS (AVL) from the vehicle closes the loop on providing the best route information.
 

radioman2001

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I wouldn't trust GPS in PS just yet. Too many drivers ended up in places they realy didn't intend to be. We had incidents of cars making turns on to our Right Of Way more than once. We actually had to put up barriers to prevent this after the second or third time. A tractor trailer also got stuck on a crossing, which resulted in a train vs truck. I'm not sure if GPS was involved, but I believe it may have been.
 

oeuro5

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They expect cops to know streets well and use street maps, not the GPS units. Some towns like Newington do have buit in GPS in their Mobile Data Terminals, but for Hartford it's a different story. Hartford cops have to know what route to take at certain time of day, weather conditions etc. Traffic, snowed in hill, constructions etc. Number of factors...

I hope I've answered your question.
 

mlevin

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I work for Campion ambulance in Waterbury and our company policy is no GPS due to the liability of if we get lost using the GPS and someone dies, who's gonna legally at fault.

Our units are GPS tracked by dispatch and they do have the ability t ogive us step by step directions. We also have all the old map books uploaded to our EPCR Panasonic Toughbook Tablets.
 

eclipse175

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I think a main factor is cost here when discussing GPS on MDTs.... It isnt as simple as picking up a $100 low end garmin from radio shack. The equipment cost to integrate GPS into the already expensive MDT can range from $500 to over $1000 in parts alone. This doesn't include the time necessary to install, test and train the software. We have the ability to use GPS in some of our MDTs however it is rarely used (mutual aid mostly). We still work with maps (our maps have hydrants located on them).

I think that in terms of liability well if you get lost whether you used a GPS or a paper map the liability could not be transferred over to any GPS manufacturer......

Using the $100 gps unit is not practical in fire by any means... it would last maybe a week. Police - a little more practical. Our EMS has them deployed.
 

mlevin

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Not so much liability, but the possibility of punching in the wrong address by mistake. You can't do that with a mapbook. I also volunteer for Wolcott EMS and we just recieved a DHS mutual aid grant for two GPS units. Our policy on that is it's only to be used for mutual aid calls and getting to unfamiliar hospitals.
 

KB1JHU

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I know it's off-topic, but this caught my eye in one of those articles (emphasis mine):

"Coinciding with installation of the GPS devices are new two-way digital radios. The city is abandoning what Sweeney calls “antiquated” VHS equipment in favor of StarCom21, a digital statewide communication network. StarCom21 is billed as having greater clarity and fewer dead spots while offering a greater level of multiagency communications between police, fire and other first responders."
 
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