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June 17, 2009 > City's public safety operations to receive long-awaited boost

City's public safety operations to receive long-awaited boost

By Simon Wong

Hayward City Council's Technology Application Committee agreed unanimously on June 10 to purchase and implement a new, fully-integrated Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management System (RMS).

According to initial estimates, the new system will cost $3.6M and a five-year maintenance contract with vendor New World Systems, Inc. (NWS) will incur an annual fee of over $600,000. The Council plans to authorize City Manager Greg Jones to enter into negotiations for an agreement with the supplier at its June 23 meeting.

Neither of the current CAD and RMS systems meets the needs of modern, public-safety agencies. Speed, flexible data analysis and reporting are essential. Critically, reports must meet court requirements.

At the moment, these functions are cumbersome, susceptible to human error, inconsistency and inaccuracy given the disparate sources of data that interface with the system and absence of data validation. System-users voiced their frustrations more than seven years ago. Practical concerns also surround the availability of ongoing support for an aging CAD system, installed in 1991, running on obsolete hardware and software.

Police Chief Ron Ace's appointment spurred the move for better tools to facilitate public safety operations. Following due diligence, the Police and Technology Services departments selected NWS which has supplied public safety and public administration software since 1981 to 1,500 agencies. The company scores highly against a set of evaluation criteria and, more importantly, provides a fully-integrated CAD/RMS system unlike some of its competitors. GIS (geographical information system) will also be integrated.

NWS will implement and configure the system, supported by City staff, as part of the initial contract. The maintenance contract takes effect when the City accepts delivery of the configured system with the possibility of a five-year extension. It includes back-up for the City's production-support staff except for development.

"The maintenance covers future upgrades and service to address system integrity and stability. The development model used by NWS is a more modern and holistic approach," stated the City's Technology Services Director Clancy Priest.

"If another agency has been through the competitive bid process for the equipment and technology that we wish to purchase, entered into an agreement with the vendor and the specifications are the same as ours, we can use the same process and identify the same bidder. This is piggy-backing. Hayward followed Berkeley's bid," explained City Attorney Michael Lawson.

"We shall borrow from the Sewer Fund to pay for the system instead of entering into a lease purchase agreement with either the vendor or another third-party," said City Manager Greg Jones. "If we pre-pay the maintenance, we'll earn a 20% reduction which is a significant saving. Borrowing from the Sewer Fund and repaying with interest, commensurate with the returns the City normally achieves, will benefit the taxpayers," he added.

The Fire RMS module will not be implemented because Hayward's Fire Department is associated with Alameda County Emergency Medical Services. NWS will integrate this at no extra cost.

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