Public safety leaders from across Snohomish County have voted to launch New World Systems (NWS), a new countywide public safety dispatch and records management system, this month.
The system will go live on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 27 for all of the 50-plus first responder agencies. It has been more than 20 years since the county’s last overhaul of the CAD/RMS system (computer-aided dispatch/records management system).
Approval to go live with the system was finalized today at a meeting of representatives from all law enforcement, fire, EMS, corrections, and PSAPs (the public-safety answering points, or 911 dispatch centers) agencies.
“I look forward to a successful launch,” said Chief Bob Crannell with the Mill Creek Police Department at this morning’s meeting.
“That we are in unanimous agreement to go live is a tribute to the hard work by SNOPAC and SNOCOM,” said Chief Murray Gordon of the Everett Fire Department.
NWS will allow first responders to share information across Snohomish County jurisdictional boundaries. For example, an officer in Lynnwood would know a suspect had recently been arrested for a violent crime in Marysville. The previous technology developed by Northrop Grumman in the early 1990s does not support seamless sharing of information, which created “silos” of information in each jurisdiction.
Examples of the type data sharing NWS provides include:
- Access to state driver’s license photos, which means police will be able to verify someone’s identity faster, or more importantly, determine when someone is trying to conceal their identity because of a warrant.
- An integrated booking process for the county’s three jails, streamlining transfer times, which allows police to spend more time performing law enforcement duties and less time doing paperwork.
- Shared CAD between PSAPs leading to processing calls faster across geographical boundaries.
Other technology improvements include:
- GPS information, allowing incident commanders in the field to establish a perimeter around a fleeing suspect using real-time location information.
- Proximity dispatch for the closest unit is based on actual location, improving response times for calls where seconds can save lives.
- Processing mutual aid requests faster across the county.
- Automatically assigning fire and police units across jurisdictional boundaries almost instantaneously.
- The ability to analyze data trends in areas such as crime or health across jurisdictional boundaries.
The first computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system was launched in Snohomish County in the early 1990s. At that time, the county’s PSAPs, SNOCOM and SNOPAC, purchased the same software (Northrop Grumman) but different systems. In 1998, agencies purchased their own RMS, which had little or no interface with CAD. In 2009, SNOCOM and SNOPAC signed a contract with NWS.
The cost outlined in the contracts signed at the beginning of the project was $6.8 million for software licensing and implementation. In addition to these costs, each agency has related ancillary costs, such as covering overtime for training of commissioned personnel and upgrades to hardware (e.g. laptops).