MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown Police Department (MPD) has started using a new software that will improve communication and coordination with other law enforcement agencies and the emergency dispatch center according to a city press release.
The release states that the department has been working to change the existing program for eight years. The new program called Zuercher Suite will help with filing reports and record-keeping and it is already being used by other law enforcement departments in the area as well as surrounding ones.
“It’s very significant because it gives us a lot of ways to do things a little bit more efficiently within the department as well as far as answering and responding to calls it also provides us with an ability to monitor calls we didn’t have before” deputy chief of police Eric Powell said. “It’ll probably more or less improve our time of response, there’s a whole number of things.”
“It will improve greatly our ability to generate reports based on data and beyond that it allows officers to be more efficient in the fields in doing their duties and focus on the task at hand rather than other aspects of police work, the more mundane things like report writing. It speeds that process up and makes things more efficient.”
When an officer is spending less time worrying about generating reports, Powell said, it gives them an opportunity to have more time out in the field, doing checks, being visible and doing all the necessary things to keep the public safe. Powell added the software change will improve their response to the needs of the community.
In addition to the software change, Powell said, MPD is implementing a mobile unit system which will mean officers will have mobile laptops in their vehicles that are connected through wifi. This means that if a call comes in from Monongalia County Emergency Management 911 the officer will have immediate knowledge that the call has been placed and won’t have to wait for that information to be relayed.
“If they actually generate a call on their own, if they see a sign missing in a neighborhood or a problem in the neighborhood they can initiate the call by getting on their mobile unit and typing in the information,” Powell said. “What it does is it frees up a lot of communication lag time there, the way it works is you just have a screen that shows all the pending calls, all the calls for service and a basic description of that call and then the officer can clear the call without having to get on the radio and explain things to the dispatcher.”
Currently, MPD only has a mobile unit in about five cars, however, Powell said that was done on purpose to make sure they have all the bugs figured out before they install them in a total of roughly 45-50 vehicles. In addition, he said installing the mobile units take time because WiFi needs to be added in order for them to function.
Powell said he is hoping to have all mobile units installed by the end of the year.