Thursday, November 12, 2009

City Needs to Join Countywide Public Safety Data System

The Monroe County 911 center is upgrading its field data base system. This is the database police access from their cars for information on a car they may be following, or may have pulled over. The database is comprehensive, and every police department in the County should be on it.

Imagine that the Rochester Police Department police didn't use it, but instead set up a parallel system that couldn't interface well with the countywide database. Imagine somebody pulls an armed robbery in the City. The City police have a car description and plate number. It's entered in their separate system, but the 911 system doesn't get the information accurately, or in real time. The car then enters an adjoining town, where it's pulled over for speeding. The town police officer has no idea what went down in the city 30 minutes before   --   and is now in a very bad situation.

The City needs to join the 911 system so this, and events like it, couldn't happen. If the City joins, access to information as needed becomes seamless. In the scenario described, the Town cop accesses the info, knows the whole story, calls for back-up   --  and makes it home to his family. The criminal doesn't.

Which leaves me wondering why the City doesn't want to join the 911 system. Some say that the City P.D. is really run by its IT department, that's not very good and doesn't want to come near anything it can't fully understand. Maybe another possible explanation is that the City doesn't want to make access easy to its crime stats, which may be heading in the wrong direction.

In financial terms, the 911 system, consolidated with all police departments countywide, is by far the least costly option for the City. It would cost about 25% of the expense for an independent system for the City P.D.:   $500,000 to join 911, versus $2-3 million for an independent system. (The City's estimate of $1.5million for their own system is unrealistically low).

Let's hope that when the decision reaches Mayor Duffy's desk, he understands the need for his force to be on the 911 system -- and the public's need for it as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what are the chances of the D&C cheerleading for the City to join as a cost savings? Or does their desire for government consolidation only apply to reducing/eliminating entities that are traditionally lead by Republicans!