Week 3 of the academy covered information services & communications.
Wyoming Police responded to over 42,800 calls in 2008. Each of these calls ends up having a report, and information services is the department that handles storing, indexing, and retrieving these documents. Like most document indexing systems, everything has a key field it is tied to. In the WPD’s case, it is the report number. All reports entered into the system are stored electronically, but they do still have reports on microfilm from the 1960s.
Information services also handles all Freedom of Information Act requests, bike licensing, and gun registrations. They also are responsible for billing & collection of OWI and false alarm charges. Michigan law allows police departments to bill for the officer’s time if you are pulled over for driving impaired, which in 2007 was over $57,000. Of that, only $21,000 has been collected. If you find yourself in jail, you’ll be billed for that also, at approximately $38 per day.
The 2nd part of the class covered communication and dispatch, and was unfortunately cut short before anything regarding fire dispatch was covered. Wyoming serves as the public safety answering point (PSAP) for Wyoming and Grandville police, fire, and medical emergency calls. When a call comes in to 911, it first is routed through 2 GR area AT&T central offices, then to the AT&T Detroit CO, and finally to their Boulder, CO office, where it picks up both ANI (phone number) and ALI (location) information for the call. All of this is done before the first ring, which is why there is sometimes a couple seconds of silence before the 911 operator answers. If you call 911 on your cell, you will be routed to the Rockford state police, and only cell phone triangulation will be available for your call.
When officers ‘run your plate’, they are most likely having dispatch look it up in the law enforcement information network (LEIN) computer. Depending on the search they run, it can return basic information such as vehicle registration and outstanding warrants, or more detailed information such as the last time you used your credit card somewhere. This information is then radioed back to the officer, and also transmitted electronically to their in-car computer.
All dispatching is done via computer aided dispatching. The head dispatcher for the shift runs on a PC with 4 monitors, and the LEIN operator also runs 4 monitors, with a 5 monitor dedicated to LEIN inquiries. Most other dispatchers on the shift have dual monitors.