BUENA PARK : Computers to Cut 911 Paperwork

When 911 emergency calls come into the city's communications center, police dispatchers have to write down the information from callers before sending for help.

But by year's end, dispatchers will be able to enter the data into a computer.

"It's going to allow dispatchers to become more efficient in calls for service," Police Chief Richard M. Tefank said.

In a move toward creating a "paperless" Police Department, the City Council Monday approved buying 36 personal computers for dispatch and records management system.

"It's going to be a very big step for us in the area of automation," Tefank said.

The personal computers will cost $71,345 and will be paid for from money the department received from seizures in drug arrests.

Tefank said that under the new system, 911 calls will be routed to a dispatcher's computer screen. The computerized records management system will log data from the calls, response times and information from police reports, Tefank said.

The Police Department's high-tech system is part of a master plan to establish a personal computer network citywide, said Lawrence I. Temple, director of administrative services.

Temple said the total estimated cost for the citywide computer system, including the $500,000 for the Police Department's software and hardware, is $1.3 million.

The city's existing computer system is outdated and has limited applications, Temple said. The new computer system will link city departments, reducing operational costs and increasing efficiency. The next step will be to buy personal computers for other city departments, Temple said. However, the system won't be on-line until early next year.

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