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OXNARD : City Will Upgrade Dispatching System

Oxnard’s police, fire and ambulance services will be using computer-aided dispatching within six months as part of a five-year, citywide computer upgrading, Information Services Director David Sumney said Wednesday.

The new system will replace an outdated one in which dispatchers must track and direct units by hand, Sumney said. He said the current system results in unnecessarily long response times as well as stress and high attrition among dispatchers.

Under the new system, the time needed to dispatch a police car could be cut in half, Sumney said.

Police Chief Robert P. Owens said dispatchers now take an average of about 1 1/2 minutes to dispatch a car. Owens said the new system could also help reduce the overall police response time, which now averages five minutes and 45 seconds per call.

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“Oxnard is one of the few remaining cities of its size in the country that still has manual dispatching,” Sumney said. “Besides lengthening response times, the manual system makes it very difficult to recruit professional dispatchers.”

In addition to automated dispatching, the computer upgrading that was approved unanimously by the City Council this week will automate the city’s record-keeping, Sumney said. He said the improvements will cost $3.25 million over the next five years--less than the city expected to pay for the current system in that time.

Part of the savings, Sumney said, will come from consolidating three city computer centers into a single facility.


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