Officer Raymond O’Lesky uses the new computer-assisted dispatch system that was instated by agencies across Sandoval County in July. Courtesy of the City of Rio Rancho

New software is allowing 911 calls in Rio Rancho and Sandoval County to be processed more efficiently, reducing response times.

The Computer-Assisted Dispatch system, or CAD system, is software that connects agencies across the county. The CAD system Rio Rancho Police Department and Sandoval County agencies use is from Superion; the software is called ONESolution MCT.

Eric Masterson

“This process has been a dream for 10 years! The purchase… was unique and time-consuming alone. Once purchased, the vendor actually was bought out by another company and then another. This led to delays as new teams of people from the vendor were fluctuating,” said County Fire Chief Eric Masterson.

Superion merged with CentralSquare Technologies in 2018. The company develops software in public safety and public administration, serving over 7,500 organizations, and impacting the lives of three in four citizens across North America, according to its website.

About three years ago, this turned into a collaborative effort with representatives on the dispatch board from:

• Sandoval County,

• Rio Rancho,

• Corrales,

• Santa Ana Pueblo, and

• Bernalillo.

“The previous software was 30-plus years old and grossly outdated. This new process will allow dispatchers to process calls quicker, which in turn will get resources rolling sooner,” Masterson said.

The transition to the new system happened in July, but the full effects of the new system won’t be felt until weeks or months later, he said.

“From the county’s perspective, we are very excited about this upgrade. Prior to this, our ability to integrate with the dispatch center was limited and often relied solely on radio communications with dispatch,” he said. “Now, many of the computers we use in our apparatus to document calls have new software installed that allows us to see the CAD live and communicate with dispatch via computer and radio.”

Lt. Joel Holt

The GPS feature in the CAD system allows first responders to see where everyone is and what they are doing. For RRPD, a police badge will mark the location of a call. An officer can click on the badge and read notes from other officers and dispatchers and see if there is a history of calls at that location, according to RRPD Lt. Joel Holt.

“Now officers can see calls on the screen and say, ‘Hey I want to go to that.’ So they can see (other officers), go into (the map) and click themselves en route and basically put themselves on a call,” he said.

Holt has trained police on the new system. He said in working with a massive, complex network, there will always be bugs to work out, but the CAD system is more efficient.

The previous system did the job, but first responders can do more and have more information with this new software, Holt said.

Officers will have more information than ever with the Records Management System, Holt said. This is a feature in the CAD system that includes all the department’s reports, how many calls an officer has responded to and what they did at that call. The RMS contains data from the past 30 years.

“The program was at least a $1 million-plus program, which seems like a lot until you consider this is software in every fire truck, every police car, every station in dispatch,” Holt said. “That money was well spent.”

Agencies across the county contributed funding to purchase the new system. The county paid about $797,000 for the system, said county spokesman Stephen Montoya.

Over the past several years, the county used carry-over money from the dispatch center into a capital outlay line item for large-scale purchases, Masterson said.

“The dispatch center’s budget comes from fees tied to every agency in the county who uses the regional dispatch center. When money was left, it was re-purposed elsewhere. However, the board redirected those funds and after a few years, there was enough saved money to make the purchase,” he said.

There will be an annual cost for the county to maintain the new system, Masterson said.

“My vision is that we will be able to expand the use of this software in the future and enhance our abilities to respond even quicker to emergencies throughout the county,” he said.