New dispatch program could save lives - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New dispatch program could save lives

October 31, 2006

Valdosta - When first responders receive an emergency call, they answer it as quickly as possible, knowing a matter of seconds could be the difference between life and death.

In Valdosta, the police department is implementing closest car dispatch, a program they believe will shave precious moments off their response time.  "That means if you call 911 and somebody's breaking into your house, instead of the old method where the dispatcher will send a beat officer or officers in your area, the dispatcher can look to see marked and unmarked cars and the closest one gets the call," says Capt. Brian Childress of the Valdosta Police.

To do this, the department has placed Automated Vehicle Locator computers in all patrol cars.  These computers allow dispatchers see the location of each marked and unmarked car and send the 5 closest cars to the caller's location.  "I'm going to get someone there faster so when I say it's a mathematical certainty it will save someone's life, it will," Childress adds.

Instead of using paper maps that could cost extra time, The South Georgia Regional Development Center has installed detailed maps and routes are at each officer's finger tips.  "We can take just a few seconds to press a key, type in the address and the map will show us where that address is located," says Officer Billy Wheeler.

The Valdosta Police department will begin to utilize closest car dispatch before the end of the year.

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