Joining a CAD-to-CAD network provides a public safety agency with many advantages, with time savings being prime among them. In a CAD-to-CAD network, a dispatcher uses less of her time calling other dispatch centers for assistance. Officers respond to emergencies faster. Victims receive life-saving aid more quickly. The overall, collective time savings has a real, tangible impact. When a big event hits – like the Boston Marathon bombing – agencies and dispatch centers are able to coordinate beyond their own organization to assemble the most appropriate emergency response.
The hidden advantage that can save lives
While the savings in time is one well-known advantage of being part of an interconnected CAD network, what is an indirect benefit of those time savings? A lesser known, but equally valuable, advantage is increased data accuracy.
When a dispatcher makes a phone call to another dispatch center to coordinate mutual-aid response, she has to hope the other person is paying close enough attention and that she is accurately reporting details so that nothing is mangled or misunderstood. When data is being shared electronically, on the other hand, all of those critical details that can increase both officer and citizen safety comes across accurately.
As data accuracy increases, dispatchers reduce the amount of time trying to transfer information on a shared call, leading to further time savings. Because evolving incident details can be synchronized back and forth through the interconnected CAD, dispatchers will know what another agency is doing without having to listen to the radio to try to track responding units indirectly or determine if additional units are needed.
Reliable data leads to more accurate reporting
In many cases, an agency also tracks the response times for every unit on a particular call for reporting purposes. However, if agencies are not on an interconnected CAD system, this type of tracking is very difficult. Rather, they must resort to listening to the radio to try and match the time that units outside of their jurisdiction are dispatched to the call. They spend a lot of time listening and making sure they are updated on when a unit has been dispatched, when a unit is en route and when a unit is at the scene.
Because responding statuses are updated automatically in an interconnected CAD network, the accuracy of status reports is significantly improved. That information can then be transferred into a records management system (RMS), allowing agencies to gain a clearer picture of the response, which would include all of the units that responded and their exact time stamps.
Extending the benefits of CAD-to-CAD
The benefit of increased data accuracy and time savings extends beyond PSAPs, dispatch centers and dispatchers. An interconnected CAD network can send this more detailed data to an RMS, allowing agencies to have a complete call record. It can also send detailed data to separate public agencies, like the Department of Transportation for example, so that they are aware of ongoing critical events that may impact them. The better understanding of data through analytics can allow an agency to analyze the call records or crime in an area to better understand how response can be improved. The future of interconnected CAD networks holds a very real possibility to go far beyond human interaction and start tracking the data in a very smart way that enhances both officer and citizen safety.