Sheriff’s Department using Computer Aided Dispatch

Andrew Alexander

The McNairy County Sheriff’s Department has implemented a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system that Investigator Brad Johnson says will be very beneficial to the county’s law enforcement.

“It has cut down on paperwork. We’re able to access our records faster; we’re able to look at historical data,” said Johnson. “It’s easier for us to go back into the system now and see how many times the same call has come from that residence.”

Under the old system dispatchers manually filled out complaint cards, which are forms filed when calls come into dispatch. Deputies then had to fill out a complaint card and an incident report, which is a form covering the specific incidents the law enforcers are dispatched to while out on duty.

Under the CAD system each deputy will be issued a laptop on which they will have the capabilities to access the system, alleviating the time taken to do paperwork and travel and will allow deputies to continue patrolling their assigned areas as opposed to driving to the Justice Center to do paperwork, according to Johnson.

“Just a few months ago, they (the deputies) would have to do an arrest report, an incident report, and a warrant,” said Johnson. “Now they just do an incident report and a warrant... so it saves the deputies time.”

“Within the next month or so every deputy will have a computer equipped with the CAD system installed in their vehicle,” said Johnson.

The technology is not entirely new to the area, but this will be the first time it has been used in McNairy County by law enforcement agents.

“We’re trying to use the software to the fullest,” said Johnson. “We’ve had it for years, but in years past it was basically used in the jails for tracking inmates.”

According to Johnson, CAD has a fairly simple function that basically organizes everything digitally and stores the information in the Sheriff’s Department’s database.

CAD operates on the laptops the units will be issued, and when a call comes into dispatch, CAD logs the time of the call, which reduces the liability of the dispatcher, and automatically pulls up the history related to the caller or the address while also logging the type of incident being reported, whether it be a house fire, domestic disturbance, etc.

Since the inception of CAD’s usage on June 6, the system has seen minimal complications and nothing more serious than some learning curves for the dispatchers who are used to manually inserting all of the information, according to Johnson.

“As far as I know, there have been no major issues.”

Johnson also stated that newly hired dispatchers are not having an issue learning the new system.

“They never used the old system, so they don’t have anything to compare it to,” said Johnson. “They’ve just learned all this (CAD system) from the beginning.”

On top of the efficiencies the CAD system is bringing to the deputies patrolling McNairy County, the system is also in the midst of becoming a tool for organizing the department’s evidence room information and contents.

“We’ve recently gone to a barcode system where we have actual live tracking of where our evidence is at,” said Johnson, referring to the future benefits of furthering CAD’s practicality. “We know exactly what shelf it’s on, we know what box it’s in, and we know what room it’s in.”