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Police Records System Costs More Than Expected

A more efficient computerized records and dispatch system will cost more than double than budgeted, but the balance is easily funded by changes in contracting for health insurance.

A new police records and dispatch system will cost Whitefish Bay nearly $159,000 in 2013 – more than double what the Village Board allocated in the budget. But the extra funds are available and were approved Monday.

Now that the North Shore Consolidated Dispatch Center is operational, the seven North Shore police departments were tasked with further streamlining their communications. Currently, the seven North Shore police departments use three records management providers that do not work together, so squads on the street do not know what other squads are doing, dispatch cannot contact all cars via the computer systems and the dispatch center cannot track the location of the squads.

The North Shore Consolidated Dispatch Center in Bayside opened in June, supporting police and fire dispatching services for Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, River Hills, Glendale, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay.

In an effort to maximize the available technology at the new dispatch center, North Shore police chiefs decided it would be more efficient for all departments to use a single records management system overseen by the dispatch employees in Bayside.

Of the two bidders solicited, ProPhoenix offered the least expensive option, with a cost of $459,900. The software enables individual squads to communicate with the dispatch center and access additional information before they respond to a scene.

"When you call 911, a Bayside dispatcher will take the call, enter the nature of the call into the CAD system, and that goes out to the squad computer to see what type of assignment they are going to," said Whitefish Bay Police Chief Michael Young.

The new software is used by all suburban police departments in Milwaukee County, so North Shore police officers may be able to access other departments' records from their squad cars.

Police officials said the instant line of communication from the dispatch center to police squads will result in a quicker, more efficient system. 

"We will all be on the same system, so if there's a call in Glendale or Shorewood on the border, we're going to be able to see that and won't have to rely just on the radio broadcast," Whitefish Bay Lt. Ron Stefanski said.

Each of the seven North Shore police chiefs has agreed to contribute an initial $40,000, plus an additional cost based on population. Brown Deer was exempted from the implementation cost because it recently signed a contract with Pro-Phoenix. Brown Deer will still pay maintenance and service costs over the next five years.

Whitefish Bay, the most populous of the seven communities, will contribute the most for implementation: $139,950, plus an additional $18,904 for the first year of maintenance and service costs. The village will continue to pay maintenance and service costs over the next five years: $18,548 in 2014; $18,612 in 2015; $18,319 in 2016; and $18,269 in 2017.

The village originally budgeted $75,000 for a new record management system. The remaining $83,854 will come from that resulted from changing the way the village contracts for health insurance.

The Village Board unanimously approved the allocation of the additional funds at its meeting on Monday night.

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