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The Chandler Police Communications Section answered just over 339,000 emergency and non-emergency phone calls in 2017, a slight decrease from 2016. ASAP to PSAP, the automated alarm notifications designed to replace voice call notifications added 3,184 automated contacts this year. Non-emergency text messaging doubled this year with over 3,200 text conversations. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) recommends that 95% of all 9-1-1 calls be answered in less than 20 seconds. The Communications Section was able to meet this national standard 99% of the time in 2017.
Minor upgrades were completed to the Dispatch training room at Pecos facility as well as in the main Dispatch center. A new dispatch console was purchased to supplement the existing consoles. A major logging recorder upgrade was completed, to include a quality control program module. A project plan was designed to replace 250 portable radios in the first quarter of 2018.
Training has been of significant focus in Communications in 2017. New hire training and training for trainers were provided with the focus of training program improvement and leadership.
Communications spent the latter part of the year preparing for the roll out of text-to-9-1-1 in Maricopa County. This service will provide an alternative way in which citizens may contact the police when they are unable to make a voice call. It also provides a way in which the hearing and speech impaired community can contact 9-1-1.
The Chandler Police Department’s Communications Division continues to embrace emergency technology opportunities. In 2015, the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to Public Safety Answering Point (ASAP to PSAP) interface was implemented. This technology provides an automated direct link between alarm companies and the dispatch center when there is an alarm activation. The primary benefit of ASAP to PSAP is the ability to dispatch officers 2-5 minutes sooner than the traditional voice call reporting process. With ASAP to PSAP the automation circumvents the call taking process, and the activation information is entered directly into the dispatch computer in a dispatch-ready format. Because alarm activations have historically been received on the non-emergency phone number, this data-driven reporting process ensures maximum availability for 9-1-1 call answering. In 2017, ASAP to PSAP shifted 3,184 voice calls to this data-driven reporting. The Chandler Police Department was the ninth police agency in the United States to implement this technology.
The Communications Division has also seen a continued increase in non-emergency text-messaging. Chandler Police Communications currently offers non-emergency text messaging on the same phone number used for non-emergency voice calls. Using the provider Zip Whip, this service also allows for citizens to send pictures. While not intended to replace 9-1-1, there have been multiple success stories in which citizens have contacted the Chandler Police Department using the non-emergency texting service because they were uncomfortable or unable to safely make a voice call to the police department. The community has provided creative uses for this service and the Communications Division continues to learn the ways in which the community wishes to communicate to report requests for emergency services. The center has received texts from the hearing impaired community, from citizens out of state simply because they searched online and learned the service existed, both emergency and non-emergency. In 2017, there were approximately 3,200 non-emergency text messages received, another significant shift from voice calls towards alternative reporting methods. The Chandler Police Department is currently the only police agency in the state using this technology. Text-to-9-1-1 is currently planned for implementation in Maricopa County on April 2, 2018.