How Information Systems Affect Calls for Service

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Date Submitted: 05/13/2013 10:46 AM

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How Information Systems Affect Calls for Service

Just like the Information Technology field, the area of Law Enforcement is an ever-changing arena. Participants, both Police Officers and Support Staff alike, must be adaptable to counter new threats to the public’s safety and welfare. Information gathering and dissemination plays a key role in this process. The department is constantly seeking new ways to both expand and streamline the information dissemination network. From proper collection of information at the Communications Center, to quickly relaying that information to the appropriate officers, and the officers having enough information available to determine the best way to respond to the problem; there are many steps in this complicated information flow and each one is vitally important. Advances in technology have assisted the on-the-street police officer to be able to have much more information at his disposal than any of his predecessors.

The overwhelming majority of information begins its flow to the police department through the Communications Center. When someone has an emergency and dials 911, their call gets routed here. Manning this center 24 hours a day and 7 days a week are trained telecommunications specialists (dispatchers). They answer the callers who are often stressed, sometimes in shock, and very rarely are actively having a crime committed against them at that very moment. An information system already at work is the call locater and logger. When the caller initiates the call and even before the dispatcher answers, this IS begins electronically recording the call to document any voices, conversations, or events going on. At the same time, a locater system instantly identifies the location of the caller. This location pops up on one of the dispatcher’s computer screens as a map. If the caller is calling from a home phone, it shows the exact address along with the geographical map display and if the caller is calling from a cell phone,...