Colo. Police Department Installs Enhanced 911 Call Center

The Lakewood, Colo., Police Department has installed a new call monitoring system that automatically prioritizes calls and eliminates duplicates in its Enhanced 911 (E911) call center.

Lakewood is using Denver-based Visual Electronics Ltd.'s Digital-Fax system to distribute critical data among call center supervisors and teams, while center managers can coordinate communications between officers, dispatch and the call center.

The old key system required dispatchers to use a telephone switchboard to respond to calls. If too many people called at once, wait times were extended, and callers weren't even aware if they had contacted the right place, said communications center supervisor Dana Hansen.

"All the dispatchers say the room's really quiet since we moved from handset/plugged-in system to the computer/telephone integration," Hansen said. "So far the results have been phenomenal and no one really doesn't like it, which is very unusual."

Calls now come through a switch and are prioritized automatically, with all 911 calls at the top, and calls to the department's 10-digit number given second billing, Hansen said. The system operates on a Microsoft Corp. Windows NT-based system, and the 12 staff members just "point and click" when they are ready to respond to the next call in the queue.

The VEL system features two redundant servers to improve the efficiency in the rate of calls being received.

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