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How a new CAD system is designed to provide police with more data

Timely access to verified information can help dispatchers and officers respond swiftly and safely


The following is paid content sponsored by Mark43.

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Police rely on the information from dispatch to execute a swift and appropriate response. Incomplete or inaccurate information can delay police response, and officers don’t have time to check for updates when rushing to a scene.

Mark43’s Mercury CAD automatically displays historical information from RMS without extra clicks or a search so that dispatchers can provide context and better inform officers of potential hazards. (Image/Mark43)
Mark43’s Mercury CAD automatically displays historical information from RMS without extra clicks or a search so that dispatchers can provide context and better inform officers of potential hazards. (Image/Mark43)

Enter Mark43’s Mercury computer-aided dispatch system (CAD), hosted in the cloud and the first to automatically display historical information from a records management system without extra clicks or a search.

The Mercury CAD system integrates with Mark43’s Cobalt RMS so that dispatchers can view historical police report data to provide context and better inform officers of potential hazards. The system also verifies addresses for accuracy, supplementing the department’s own data using Google Maps, and provides real-time alerts so that officers are immediately aware of dispatch updates.

Forewarned is forearmed

Because the CAD is integrated with the RMS, reports are automatically filed from dispatch information, and dispatchers have access to verified information from previous police reports when handling a call.

This two-way data integration puts officer safety and efficiency front and center, said Christine Shieh, Mark43 product manager. Providing information such as criminal history and behavioral or medical warnings enables officers to enter a situation with greater awareness and preparation.

“We want to be sure they’re armed with the relevant information to ensure that they’re always safe, they can address the issue in a timely fashion, and there’s not a lot of room for human error,” Shieh said.

New information and notifications

Things can change rapidly in an emerging situation, and awareness is key. But officers en route to a scene often miss critical updates.

The Mercury CAD system provides instant notifications to any web-enabled device to ensure that officers have the most relevant details. A flashing screen advises responding officers that something has changed, eliminating the need to manually check or call. These alerts are especially helpful while officers are driving to a location.

Cloud delivery

Cloud-based CAD systems can help departments avoid common issues associated with on-premise systems, which are prone to downtime and crashes. The cloud provides the most reliable connection and security for emergency dispatching.

Data is stored in more than one physical location, and the software operates across redundant servers, ensuring continuity of service. All your agency needs is a working internet connection, relieving the costly and time-consuming responsibilities of server maintenance.

“It’s a lot easier to get your department set up with backup internet than it is to get your department set up with all of the fail-safes that we have to make sure that your data and your software itself don’t go down,” said Matthew Dean, Mark43’s lead software engineer.

And because it is internet-based, the platform can be continuously upgraded and improved behind the scenes without disrupting the users’ workflow.

Customization

Every department is different, so the Mercury CAD system, designed after thorough observation of emergency dispatch operations, includes an array of configurations. Department administrators can choose the settings that best fit their agency’s needs within the user interface, without vendor involvement.

The system is easily customized for each agency to help dispatchers and officers add information quickly and without cumbersome workflows.

“We really want to make sure that only features that the end users actually need and use are there so it’s not additional noise,” Shieh said.

Better data drives better analytics

Integrating the CAD and RMS creates a single repository of information rather than separate silos for dispatch and investigations. Not only can dispatchers provide officers with crucial context about known persons and locations – when investigators go back to connect the dots and establish patterns, they can trust that the information in the system has been verified.

This means better data for smart decision-making and resource allocation. For example, the CAD/RMS sync enables correct labeling of calls for service after the fact. This means that an analysis of calls for domestic violence will include those DV incidents that were called in as a noise complaint from a neighbor unaware of the true nature of the situation.

Awareness and efficiency

Integrating the CAD and RMS platforms provides dispatchers with greater access to police data so that responding officers arrive on scene with better situational awareness.

 The Mercury CAD system also provides real-time alerts to ensure awareness of changes in dispatch information. These elements improve officer safety as well as the quality of police response.

The integrated system also improves the quality of data for more accurate analysis of crime trends. 

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