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Published: Tuesday, 1/28/2014

New software gives Perrysburg Township police more information, quicker

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Morgan Donnell, a dispatcher for Perrysburg Township, explains the new software that will provide township police officers with more information and more quickly on each emergency call. Morgan Donnell, a dispatcher for Perrysburg Township, explains the new software that will provide township police officers with more information and more quickly on each emergency call.
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Perrysburg Township's emergency response system will change substantially on Saturday as software and a mapping system will streamline information to police officers on the road.

The equipment, software, and installation cost the township $218,859. 

Starting Saturday, when an emergency call for the police comes in, the dispatcher will log in appropriate information into the computer system and then send that information to the responding police officer. The software upgrade also will include a Google map of the address. Until now, the dispatcher took notes during the emergency call, then called the officer to relay the information, and then made sure the appropriate information was logged into the computer system.

With the new software, the officer can see address, comments from the dispatcher, previous history of the person or address, and a map and Google photo of of the site on his patrol car's center counsel computer. The mapping system with the upgrade tells the dispatcher which patrol car is closest to the incident, something which has not been in place in Perrysburg.

"Insanely," is how dispatcher Morgan Donnell describe the help the new software will bring. "We had it while I was in Ottawa Hills. It will be a night and day difference."

The township now charts call logs and notes on Microsoft Word and Excel.

The new software, called the Alert Public Safety Solutions, cost $153,967. Annually, maintenance of the software will be $7,000 for the police department and $6,000 for the fire department.New servers computers, monitors, accessories, installation, and labor was $64,893. 

Rosanna Violi, who is the assistant to the township administrator,  has been working with the software company for six months to get the software to the department.

"This is more efficient and streamlined," Ms. Violi said. "It is a great advance for the department, the forefront of this is for better service."

Ms. Donnell said the new system for dispatchers will enable them to log the records once, instead of three times as has been required, for each call. Ms. Violi said the software will record phone numbers and keep records of previous calls, reports, and comments from callers to provide information to officers in the future.

"It's vital," Deputy Chief Michael Gilmore said about the new software helping the efficiency in an emergency situation. "Everyone's excited about it. It is very user friendly."

A vendor representative will be on-site to help township employees during the first week the system is in place. Thirteen dispatchers and officers began a three-day training course on the new system on Tuesday.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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