Hudson (OH) Modernizes Dispatch Center

A woman looking at a call center.
Photo/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Phil Keren

Akron Beacon Journal

(MCT)

The police department recently finished an $804,500 upgrade that modernizes its dispatch center on Oviatt Street.

“This was a huge project that took a lot of effort and hard work from staff to complete,” said Police Chief Perry Tabak. “We have really brought our center into the 21st century, built partnerships and prepared for future changes.”

Hudson Police Sgt. Dan Thompson said the upgrade of the system began three years ago because the city needed to comply with state mandates if it wanted to continue having a dispatch center.

“Everything we had from the 911 [system] to the actual radio consoles, everything was obsolete,” Thompson said in a video program posted on the city’s website. “We were encountering problems even getting service on it. Parts were not available on stuff, so we needed to upgrade everything.”

The upgraded system includes a new radio console system, portable and mobile radios and paging system for fire and EMS, new work stations and monitors, a new 911 system and improvements to the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that is now cloud-based.

The installation of the new system was finished in December 2020. The radio consoles cost $497,936 and the 911 system carried a $175,000 price tag. Other expenses for the dispatch center upgrade were: microwave system, $70,000; furniture, $46,854; CAD merge and move to cloud, $6,660; voice recorder integration, $4,400; new computer work stations, $2,500; and status indicator system, $1,165.

Hudson Police dispatcher Ginger Hatfield said the new radio system is beneficial to the staff.

“Dispatchers have a touch-screen radio at their fingertips,” said Hatfield in the city’s video program.

The system is useful for when the department is providing mutual aid to another department or is assisting another agency that is on a different radio band.

“Now we can patch those channels together and it’s seamless communication,” said Hatfield. “It’s as if they’re on the same radio band and it provides a much better response for critical incidents.”

Hatfield said the dispatch center has a Rapid SOS program that uses a cell phone user’s GPS mechanism to locate callers when they use their cell phone to call 911.

“It’s much better technology,” Hatfield said. “We can narrow down your location much better.”

At their work stations, dispatchers can press a button that raises their desk so that they can stand while they work if they wish.

Hudson police has a partnership agreement with Bath Township police where the departments will assist one another with dispatch services if one department is experiencing a high volume of calls. The departments started helping each other in September 2020.

“We have taken 911 rollover calls for Bath and vice versa during high incoming call volume incidents,” said Tabak, who added that expressway crashes and grass fires are examples of incidents that generate a high amount of calls. “During a phone outage at Bath, our dispatcher took and entered call(s) into CAD for Bath units.”

The chief observed that the combination of modernizing the 911 system, moving to the cloud-based CAD and putting the city’s EMS and Fire departments on the 800 Mhz radio system enhances the mechanics of the Hudson and Bath dispatch centers working together.

“The relationship with Bath has been working out very well and provides us with a little extra peace of mind in case of an emergency situation,” Tabak said.

The improvements to the dispatch center can be seen at www.hudson.oh.us/Dispatch.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Hudson Police Department modernizes dispatch center

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