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Computer-Aided Dispatch Center Protects Fairfax County, Virginia

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 36 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1988) Pages: 24-26
M B Fischel; W N Brown
Date Published
3 pages
In Fairfax County, Va, the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system monitors the activities of the county's police, fire, and rescue forces.
The CAD system combines the use of computerized pinpoint mapping and more than 500 in-car terminals with direct access to the central records department, lowering the response time by as much as 70 percent. As a management tool, the CAD system assists field units and supervisors, provides information about dispatch and response activities, and identifies trends relative to resource allocation, response time, and patrol workload demands. When a call is made to the center, a call-taker enters relevant information into the system by way of an event entry form on a computer terminal. Only the type of event, urgency, and location are required to set the response system in motion. Once the event is entered, the CAD system verifies the address, checks for possible duplicate events, assigns a priority to the call based on the event type and urgency, calls to the attention of the call-taker any previous events at the location, and finally, routes the call to the appropriate dispatcher. All this takes place within 3 to 9 seconds. The many other capabilities of the system include a graphic display terminal which displays geographic data, automatic recommended priority for incoming calls, and mobile data terminals to provide field units a link with the communications center. Photograph.