dispatcher (Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com)

Building interoperability standards for computer-aided dispatch

During a widespread emergency, many responder agencies are unable to exchange information between their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, stifling situational awareness and introducing operational inefficiencies that can impair coordinated response.

To address this challenge, the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute will develop interoperability standards for CAD systems used by the nation’s public safety agencies. The CAD2CAD project -- funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) -- aims create a resilient, efficient and interoperable public safety ecosystem that supports multidiscipline response to regional, multistate or national events.

Many solutions have been proposed for the CAD interoperability issue over the years, but one-off attempts to improve interoperability by developing custom interfaces have proven costly to develop and maintain, according to DHS S&T officials.

In the project’s first phase, IJIS will bring together public safety practitioners and CAD solution providers to evaluate specifications, promote standards-based interoperable solutions, validate methodologies and conduct pilot tests.

“This IJIS-led project will help push the development of CAD interoperability standards across the finish line, resulting in greatly improved emergency response capability for the more than 6,000 public safety Emergency Communication Centers nationwide,” said Norman Speicher, the program manager in DHS S&T’s First Responders and Detection Program overseeing the CAD2CAD project.

If the initial project is successful in developing CAD interoperability standards, DHS may fund a 14-month second phase to ensure the standards’ viability and plan for commercialization of the solution.

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