Always a Step Ahead: 4 CAD Essentials for Modern Emergency Response

April 8, 2022
April 8, 2022/Innovation

Always a Step Ahead: 4 CAD Essentials for Modern Emergency Response


Every dispatcher tries to speed up the response time for emergencies. However, most CAD systems in use today are built on 20-year-old technology that slows down response times with limited intel, disconnected screens, and workflows that are difficult to use. In short, these systems don’t give dispatchers or officers the tools needed to respond efficiently.

To overcome these challenges, agencies looking to improve emergency response outcomes should consider CAD systems that address the following 4 areas:

1. Streamline 911 operations with intuitive screens and workflows.
At its core, a good CAD platform should simplify processes for dispatchers and responders while providing relevant information in real-time. Agencies should look for modern CAD systems that enable truly efficient dispatch with:

  • User-friendly screens that enable quick action. Real-time mapping with unit locations, color-coded intel, and ergonomically designed buttons make it simple for dispatch and officers to quickly assess the incident and take action.
  • Proactive alerts. Intelligent CAD systems can proactively alert nearby officers and units when a CAD call is initiated based on the incident location and type, reducing the time it takes units to respond.
  • Smart Location Tools. Built-in location tools like RapidSOS integration and PinPoint can help dispatchers get a precise geo-location even when there’s no defined address for the incident.
  • Quick Actions & Commands. Whether it’s command shortcuts or dragging and dropping the nearest unit onto the incident location, staff should have the power to complete an entire dispatch with the least clicks possible.

2. Integrate with NCIC, RMS and other systems
Switching back and forth between screens is a waste of precious seconds for dispatchers and responding officers. Agencies should look for CAD that works seamlessly with their other systems to improve data flow and eliminate the need for duplicate data entry. For example, modern CAD can deliver NCIC intel on locations and complainants on a single, integrated screen. Officers can begin reports from CAD with existing incident data automatically filled into the report in RMS.

3. Connect Cameras, Drones & IoT devices for Realtime intel
With the number of video and information sources now available to agencies, it’s possible to give dispatchers a more complete, real-time view of an incident location:

  • CAD systems with integrated video allow dispatchers and officers to assess a situation via live camera feeds from traffic and crime prevention cameras, LPRs, and drones.
  • Connected AVLs (automatic vehicle locators) show dispatch the closest available response units, provide optimized routes, and can automatically update when the unit is en-route or onscene.
  • And with truly mobile CAD, responders can access incident information, including the real-time video footage, and provide status updates from both their in-car laptop/MDT and on smartphones or handheld devices.

Once officers are on-scene, live dashcam and bodycam streaming can alert dispatchers to shots fired or other incidents that require backup without having to wait for verbal communication from the officer. Officers can keep their focus on the situation rather than pausing to call back to dispatch.

AI-powered video analytics can further enable proactive incident response by automatically alerting dispatch of safety hazards or unusual activity. For example, LPRs with built-in AI can automatically detect a vehicle driving in the wrong direction and dispatch units to assist.

4. Enhance collaboration and information sharing across agencies and jurisdictions
A single integrated system that can dispatch multiple jurisdictions and agencies, including police, fire and EMS, allows for a better coordinated response. Agency specific roles and configurations preserve agency autonomy within a shared CAD system, while allowing real-time access to the information each agency needs to respond. Operators can easily create multi-agency files and response plans, and CAD can automatically recommend the appropriate units based on incident type and location. This eliminates the information delays and repeat work that often occurs when agencies use separate dispatch systems.

Are you considering an updated CAD system for your agency? Contact us to connect with a 365Labs Public Safety tech consultant.

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