Lemoore Dispatch Upgrade

November 11, 2008 8:16:10 PM PST
South Valley law enforcement is hoping a new, hi-tech dispatch system will help get an officer to an emergency situation faster.Right now, if you call 911 in Lemoore, the call gets dispatched to the Kings County Sheriff's Office. With a desire for more community-based policing, the Lemoore Police Department hopes to change that by installing its own hi-tech dispatch system.

Soon, Hanford Police will temporarily take Lemoore's emergency calls as both agencies move towards a new, more technology-savvy dispatch system called "SMART."

In Lemoore, officers are still using decades-old "green screen" technology and after 5-pm, office calls are transferred to the Kings County Sheriff's Office. Lemoore Police Chief Kimberly Morrell says SMART will change that. Chief Morrell says "The extended hours, the better community contact that would allow us to give personalized service just to Lemoore residents."

Both Hanford and Lemoore officers say their current systems are outdated and reliant on paper. With SMART, dispatchers and officers in the field will be able to upload pictures of suspects, email police reports, enter crime analysis and more. It will also allow dispatchers in Hanford, Lemoore and Corcoran to see each other's calls in real time.

Carlos Mestas, the Chief of Police in Hanford, says "There may be a suspect leaving Hanford going Southbound on Highway 43. Well, Corcoran's going to be able to see that the person is coming their way. They'll be able to see that in real time as opposed to having to call Corcoran and wait several minutes."

Chief Mestas says SMART will help officers get to emergencies quicker. Mestas says "For the community, it's faster response, safer response, more accurate response, more efficient police work and more efficient investigations."

As the Lemoore Police Department works to install its own system, they'll also be converting an investigations unit into a new dispatch room. With a current population of 27,000 people, Lemoore has nearly tripled in size over the last 25 years. Having its own dispatch system will mean extending its office hours and becoming more in touch with residents' needs. Chief Kimberly Morrell says "The dispatchers are closer to the community because it is a smaller area that they're responsible for."

Lemoore will start dispatching through Hanford Police by March. They will have their own system up and running at Lemoore Police headquarters within two years.

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