Electronic Dispatch Reduces Response Time By Minutes

A story in the August issue of APCO’s Public Safety Communications details how electronic dispatching is saving times, money and lives, while also reducing some of those calls for dispatch from alarm monitoring centers to police departments. The ANSI-approved APCO International American National Standard went into effect in 2009, and has slowly built momentum with PSAPs across the country.

The standard deals with the communication between alarm monitoring centers and 911/PSAPs. Essentially, it sets standards for electronic dispatching, and is the culmination of several years of hard work and cooperation between the CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association) and APCO representatives.

The story shows the high level of commitment to the private-public partnership. It focuses on recent efforts by the city of Houston as it implemented the procedure, and they expect savings of $1-2 million in dispatch costs. User data errors are also reduced and our CS “hold-times” disappear with this automation in place. It will take years for full implementation, but we’re finally moving down the right path.

A smaller but significant impact area to consider is the fact that this ASAP to PSAP system, when combined with high probability “crime in progress” alarm signals by video or other means with active “priority dispatch” Standard Operating Procedures, will improve apprehensions for police departments. Near the end of the article, four cases are documented where police respond/arrive so quickly that they captured burglary suspects.

We must use this all this information to get law enforcement to focus on the positive aspects of alarms, technology, selective quicker responses to help them, taking more bad guys off the street. We also hope to move beyond the eternal focus on “false” alarms. We must keep our current programs in place for reducing dispatches AND help law enforcement leadership shift their thinking to institutionalize the belief that these alarms are great because they prevent or lower losses, and help protect the community, while also catching more criminals. It’s a new & powerful message.

Ten years ago, we would have never believed that we’d actually witness this in our lifetime….. Read the article. It is time well-spent.


Executive Director of SIAC
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