In light 5-8s and a controversial new contract that has split junior officers from their more experienced counterparts, you'd think that the brain trust on the 5th floor would have waited a little while before installing a new Computer Aided Dispatch system, particularly one that seems to have an incredible number of unforeseen problems.
A few weeks back APD installed the Tiberon CAD system. We don't know what the reason for replacing the old system was and frankly we don't care (unless of course they happen to be large donors to certain politicians). However, since APD plays a pivotal role in our safety we expect the system to work.
Our Eyes behind the badge tell us that there have been a huge number of problems with the system ranging from training to support to technical problems that make the system in its current state dangerous.
Last week Chief Schultz told Bob Clark that the reason that the system was having some problems is that officers didn't pay enough attention during training. Whenever an organization makes a technological transition there are always training issues. A lot of them come from the simple fact that most of us hate change - particularly when it involves a piece of technology. Of course the training officers would need to have a password for the new system before attempting to train other officers - which our Eyes tell us, did not happen in many cases.
The problem is that in this case there are a number of functional problems with the new system that have nothing to do with training. For example, our Eyes tell us that their old system would display in their vehicle all of the pertinent information on a particular license plate when that information was radioed to dispatch during a traffic stop - things like the type of vehicle and whether or not the vehicle had been stolen or not.
In short, an officer knew instantly the kind of situation they were getting into before they approached the vehicle. With the new system, the officer is required to run a search on the tag in the field after they have made the stop. Meanwhile, the subject has plenty of time to, well... arm themselves should they decide that they don't want anything to do with the law.
Other functional problems include license plates, warrants and court dates failing to come up. In addition, the system will log off officers for no apparent reason. Our Eyes tell us that when contacted about the problem Radio will make every attempt to log them back in but when their attempts fail they tell officers that the problem is a lack of bandwidth.
Basically, officers are placed in a situation where they are relying completely on their radios to get vital information. Now that's OK if it's an emergency or if it's law enforcement 1973, but today it simply puts officer's lives at risk.
The other complaint that our Eyes behind the badge have is a lack of technical support on weekends. Law enforcement is a 24 hour 7 day a week business - we never close. Installing a new Computer Aided Dispatch system with technical support that's closed on weekends and holidays doesn't exactly make sense. We'd think that the folks at Tiberon would understand that concept.
No one can foresee every difficulty when making a change to new technology. However, there are things that can absolutely be predicted. First, the amount of bandwidth necessary for the system to operate properly. Second, the fact that no matter how much mandatory training is required before the system is installed there will be problems and those problems won't always happen at a convenient time of day.
Third, there will be a disconnect between the people who choose the system and those who have to operate it. New systems need to not only provide better functionality - they must provide the same functionality that officers are used to.
When you get right down to it, it's just as important how you implement a new system as what that new system can do. In this case, part of the equation is when you decide to transition. We're also concerned that the Tiberon system wasn't adequately evaluated for technical specifications (bandwidth requirements), ease of use (compatibility with the previous system), and proper technical support.
In the end, APD has found itself with a CAD system that is not only going through implementation problems, but may not have the ability to meet the requirements of the department in the first place. A few weeks back, the system crashed and dispatchers found themselves using radio and 3x5 cards.
In the final analysis, we don't care what system APD uses for dispatch as long as it works, and has proper training and support for the officers who have sworn to keep the rest of us safe. The current CAD Chaos is intolerable and dangerous for all of us.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes