That was one of the messages passed on to Vauxhall town council during a presentation on computer-aided-dispatch at their regular meeting on Feb. 3.
Council was updated on the Regional Emergency Response System Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) collaboration project by Tom Moffatt, manager of information technology with the Town of Taber, and Taber police chief Alf Rudd.
The project, which lists a proposed partnership with Taber, the Municipal District of Taber, Vauxhall, and Barnwell, is intended to connect all regional fire response vehicles, Taber Police Service cars, and a regional RCMP vehicle, and lay the groundwork for integration for other emergency services partners such as the City of Lethbridge and Alberta Health Services.
Also included in the project are two years of support and maintenance and training for staff in order to use the devices properly.
The system would give police access to data such as licence plate registrations, and warrants and arrest records, while police and fire fighters would have access to building plans, toxic chemical inventories, and fire hydrant locations.
Additional data could also be loaded into the system to be viewed during an emergency.
The CAD would also coordinate with other software tools such as integrating Professional Question and Answer (ProQA), which is software designed to help dispatch properly respond to calls.
“There’s a benefit in here for the police,” said Rudd. “But it’s also about progress, and an improvement to what is currently in the fire trucks right now.”
In all, 27 units would have the system installed throughout the M.D. and Taber.
There would be 15 vehicles in the M.D., including five Vauxhall fire vehicles, three Enchant fire vehicles, three Grassy Lake fire vehicles, three Hays fire vehicles, and one dedicated RCMP vehicle.
Taber would have 12 vehicles, including seven fire vehicles and five TPS vehicles.
According to the presentation, the project has a total cost of $350,000 with grant funding available to cover $250,000. The Town of Taber would manage the project, and is seeking regional collaboration partners for grant application. Moffatt said Taber town council had already expressed interest in the project and had set aside $75,000 in budget funding to help implement it.
“That’s for their municipal portion,” he said.
Taber Police Services Offer
The presentation further outlined an offer by TPS to pay for the cost of installing mobile device hardware into a regional RCMP vehicle. This would allow the RCMP vehicle assigned to the M.D. of Taber to participate in the project. The cost of the offer is estimated at $8,700 for both the hardware ($5,000) and the software ($3,700). According to Rudd, TPS sees value in having a coordinated emergency response between TPS, fire fighters, and the RCMP.
Moffatt said a project timeline of about two years has been set.
“That would be the end of 2015 by the time we actually have something in place,” he said.
While Rudd said the grant application was in and tentatively approved, the application went forward without letters of support, something it still needs. The grant application now has a deadline looming over it.
“We’re up against a timeline,” he said. “We’re looking at the end of March.”