Community Policing and Computer Aided Dispatch Systems

SATWAYS Ltd, September 2017

Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems are sophisticated software tools that support the day-to-day operations of public safety agencies, support efficient use of resources and effective tactical deployment. Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) use CAD to facilitate incident response and communication in the field and support crime analysis. Such systems, in many cases, are the first point of entry for information coming into the LEA and are designed to manage the calls for service and the dispatching functions of police departments. Typical CAD system functions include operational resource management, call taking, location verification, dispatching, unit status management, and call disposition. Additionally, mapping functionality, interface with mobile data terminals (MDT), and interfaces with other external local, state, and federal information systems may be included. Call takers, dispatchers, and their supervisors are primary users of CAD.

However, during recent decades, CAD systems have evolved to support potentially a much broader range of law enforcement strategies and tactics, including problem-oriented policing and community-oriented policing strategies, which rely on a more proactive approach to policing. According to research [1], less than 20 percent of the citizen calls in a CAD system are for serious crime incidents. The rest are for incidents that affect the callers’ quality of life to such an extent that they believe police intervention is necessary.

The INSPEC2T projects’ scope is to develop a sustainable framework for Community Policing that effectively addresses and promotes seamless collaboration between the police and the community. However, it is of vital importance that LEAs will be able to improve the management of citizens’ calls and incidents by separating community policing events (managed by the INSPEC2T platform) from serious crime events (managed by the CAD system). The co-existence and integration of these two systems will improve:

  • the effectiveness of the LEA on the management of serious incidents, by reducing the number of events / calls that the CAD systems has to respond to.
  • the relationship between police organizations and the communities. More efficient management of police forces will result in better responsiveness to community policing events, as such the trust in police will be increased.

An interface between these two systems is required to ensure optimum utlilisation of both systems. This interface facilitates the exchange of incident reports and enables the exchange of community policing information between the CAD system and the INSPEC2T’s command and control system, the Secure portal. In addition, the Secure Portal is able to use this interface in order to send information related to the location and status of community policing resources/officers to the CAD system.

For the INSPEC2T project a lightweight edition of the ENGAGE Incident Management and Computer Aided Dispatch (IMS/CAD) system is utilized and configured to interoperate with the Secure Portal. The ENGAGE IMS/CAD combines the following functionalities in a highly modular and extensible software platform:

  • Call-Center Operations
  • Incident Management
  • Computer Aided Dispatch
  • Operational Resource Management
  • Operational Resource Rostering
  • Operational Resource Tracking
  • Decision Support (DSS)
  • Video Management
  • Collaboration
  • Mobile Data Terminal Integration
  • Advanced Mapping
Figure 1: ENGAGE IMS/CAD System provided by the Satways Ltd.

In the context of INSPEC2T, the ENGAGE CAD system is enhanced with the ability to exchange community policing event information with the Secure Portal, exchange information related to the community policing resources, jurisdiction areas and visualize this information on a user friendly graphical user interface.