Police department merges its records

Milwaukee police officials are turning to automated record-keeping and dispatching software to blend their work processes and better identify crime patterns.

The department chose a public safety package developed by Tiburon Inc. of Fremont, Calif., a unit of security software vendor CompuDyne Corp. of Hanover, Md. The $6.8 million contract calls for implementation to wrap up by early next year, replacing old computer dispatch software that 'is on its last leg,' said Mark Meyer, a commander in the technical services bureau.

The core piece of the package is Tiburon's Computer Aided Dispatch software, which runs under any Microsoft Windows operating system. CAD/Ti uses peer-to-peer communication between stations, rather than a client-server relationship. It automatically synchronizes any changes or updates across all desktop systems, so that each user gets the most current information without depending on a central server.

'If the central server is down, the dispatching system continues,' said Paul Nocero, a Tiburon product specialist. 'It has a high level of survivability.'

A computer mapping display and geographic files help dispatchers pinpoint cross streets so they can direct nearby patrol cars to an incident. Tiburon contracted with Intellinetics Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, for the imaging software.

The Mobile Dispatch System, another chunk of the software package, discloses data from CAD/Ti to external systems, such as mobile computers in police cars.

The Milwaukee police are currently using radio-frequency links in a pilot to send the Mobile Dispatch System's incident reports and records to two mobile computers, one in a patrol car and the other in an investigative unit vehicle.

Nocero said the Milwaukee department will spend $1.5 million on a pilot of an automated fingerprint identification system developed by Sagem Morpho Inc. of Tacoma, Wash.

The city of Fort Collins and Larimer County in Colorado also are studying Tiburon's technology to merge automated dispatching databases from several police and sheriff's departments, a fire department, an ambulance company and a state university.

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