Communications & Dispatch, Equipment & Gear, News

NYPD Rings Up $73M Deal for 911 Upgrade

NEW YORK — The city plans to upgrade its 911 system after a six-year, multimillion-dollar delay.

The NYPD recently signed a $73 million contract with Alabama-based Intergraph Corp. for a state-of-the-art emergency dispatch system that can instantly compile location and caller histories, create maps, and locate the appropriate units to respond.

“It integrates everything available and sends it straight to the dispatchers in a much more user-friendly way,” said NYPD Deputy Chief Charles Dowd, commander of the communications division. “It’s automatic. It’s faster.”

The new system will immediately grab the location of the caller – including cellphone users, using GPS technology already available through the wireless companies – then tap into state and city databases to check for arrest warrants and prior calls at a location.

“The more info we can get quickly in the field, the better we’ll all be able to respond,” said a Fire Department medic from Bed-Stuy. “To have it all in one place can only help.”

The system will keep records of repeat 911 callers, prioritize calls in real time, and create interactive maps which identify subways, schools and other landmarks.

Dowd said the system can also send all compiled information directly to police cars, but said, “That’s in the future, after the system is fully implemented.”

It’s expected that the system will be up and running in about two years.

A similar system was supposed to have been in place years earlier – the NYPD signed a $47 million contract with Hewlett-Packard for such technology in 2002. The company failed to supply the system, and returned more than $30 million in a settlement.