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Move to GPS dispatch aims to shorten response time

Updated: 02/05/2014 10:31 PM | Created: 02/05/2014 10:20 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When there's an emergency in New Mexico, dispatchers have to radio police units to find out which officers are closest to the scene.

That can take valuable time.

One county is making it possible for dispatchers to see their officers at all times.

"We're able to hopefully reduce the time it takes to get to the incidents," said Ken Martinez, director of the Santa Fe County Regional dispatch center.

Thanks to a big new investment by the center -- which serves all of Santa Fe County -- officers and dispatchers will no longer be voices on opposite sides of a radio.

Now, squad cars, EMS units and fire trucks will be dots on a big map.

"Now we can look on the map and see who, which officer, is closest to that scene," said Martinez.

With GPS tracking officers' locations and movement, dispatchers can send an officer directly to the scene closest to the officer.

"Being able to track the officers and know where they're at at any given time, it's an officer safety issue as well," he said.

The upgrade to Santa Fe County's dispatch software means the folks working the phones have an electronic eagle eye on all 2,000 square miles of the county.

It will cost about $400,000.

"Dispatchers can see at a glance where everybody's at, and where the scenes are at," said Martinez.

Right now, almost 100 squad cars are operating on the system, and over the next couple years Martinez says that will increase.


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