This is the Main Communication Hub Of
The Broward County Chiefs of Police Association Membership

President:Chief Anthony W. Rosa
Vice President:Chief Clyde Parry
Secretary:Chief Sonia Quiñones
Treasurer:Chief Christopher O'Brien
Sgt.-At-Arms:Chief Jonathan Shaw

E911 Communications System

Joint Position Statement of the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association and Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County Consolidated E911 Communications System December 10, 2015

Police Chief Paul O’Connell, President                                 Fire Chief Don DiPetrillo, President


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This Joint Position Statement has been adopted by both the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association and the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County as part of our continuing commitment to the construction and implementation of a successful countywide regional and consolidated E911 communication system.  Our Joint Position Statement is offered in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration.  Our common goal is to better ensure the long term stability of the E911 consolidated communication system.

General Statement of Improvements and Successes

At the outset, it is important to highlight just a few of the successes of the new regional system:
  • Consolidated 11 separate PSAPs into 3 PSAPs, all of which have the capacity to “talk” to each other and to shift call handling and dispatching responsibilities depending on loads and needs;
  • Consolidated into 3 PSAPs with significant structural and redundancy protections not previously available across all 11 prior centers;
  • The virtual elimination of call transfers related to misdirected calls;
  • For the first time in Broward County history, there is a transparent performance reporting process across the regional E911 system, representing over 2 million E911 calls annually; or 7,000 / day (91.56% of all E911 calls within Broward County);
  • The Quality Control efforts to address root-cause analysis has provided opportunities to implement operational improvements across the entire regional system;
  • The introduction of a new generation CAD system will provide even greater improvements to call taking, call handling and dispatching functions.



Currently, the system handles over 800 fire-rescue E911 calls and over 5,000 law enforcement E911 calls for service per day. The reported complaints related to call taking, call handling and dispatching have been reduced during the consolidation process.   Monthly reporting of performance has been constantly evaluated to provide the best possible information to the end users.


Areas of Concern


Over the past twelve months, areas of concern have been identified related to the performance of the regional system.  It is important to note that some concerns (for example, complaints of wrong addresses and efficiency of update information) existed previously.   That is, no PSAP ran perfectly.  Because of the lack of reporting prior to consolidation, it is not possible, other than anecdotally, to determine how the qualitative operational performance today compares to each of the 11 prior sites previously.   It is perceived that during the transition there were greater problems post-consolidation, likely due to training and management issues.


A priority of any E911 system must be on the quality of the information being relayed to the field, not just the time utilized to handle a call along the various points of measurement.  To date, there has been too much emphasis on “compliance” with standards, at least one of which is now determined to be


unrealistic and out of step with how other centers view performance.   From the operational perspective of those in the field, taking additional seconds to obtain quality information, undertake meaningful interrogation and providing necessary updates can be as important, if not more important, than whether or not the center fell short of the target compliance metric in the handling of that call.  Obtaining too little information can result in too many units being deployed (resulting in operational inefficiencies and strained resources) or too few units (resulting in potential negative consequences to those in need and/or the safety of first responders).


Currently, the Broward County Regional Communication system is organized such that ORCAT makes the ultimate decisions on operational matters and technology issues which impact operational performance.   The Police & Fire Chiefs believe this is a flawed design which must be remedied because ORCAT lacks the operational expertise to make these decisions in a vacuum devoid of experience and expertise.


Time is of the essence and the Chiefs believe the recommendations listed below must be implemented within the next six (6) months.


Recommendations:


After evaluation of many different issues, the Chiefs make the following recommendations:





  • The current structure at ORCAT, which is governed mainly by the County Administration, lacks the operational expertise and leadership to make recommendations and impose operational decisions. This has led to distrust in the merits of decisions made, slowed responsiveness to the direct users of the system and resulted in a lack of effective communications. This must change.



  • The management structures within both ORCAT and BSO must be redefined with clear lines of demarcation points and areas of responsibility. While ORCAT may be responsible for the system, they do not operate it. This line must be reformed and clearly defined for all parties.
  • The current BSO management structure in the PSAPS has not been strong enough to impose the optimum level of discipline and oversight in the performance of call taking and call handling. Line supervisors need to be either better trained or additional line supervisors need to be provided to be able to adequately oversee the call taking, call handling and dispatching functions. Constant oversight is the key to an effective communications system.



  • In furtherance of the above, the process of performance measurements review and mitigation must be independent of the County, ORCAT and BSO. The Chiefs recommend that this review process revert to the Governance Committee made up of those with operational expertise as originally recommended by the 4C Board in 2011/12.
  • Both ORCAT and BSO, along with the respective Chiefs’ Associations, should coordinate an in depth examination and review of similar E911 consolidated centers nationwide for additional best practices which can be implemented in the Broward Regional Communications system.