A Minneapolis man bailed out of a stolen car. From the city’s 911 center, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune, dispatchers were able to eyeball every squad car working the streets on a colorful computer screen and track their movements. The system is designed to get the nearest officers to a rolling crime scene. A supervisor manages the action from a wireless laptop computer. Police have the ability to download an aerial view of where the crimes happen and superimpose the squad cars’ real-time locations. The suspect was caught.
The $4.3 million investment was needed to replace software and equipment the city used to deliver emergency police, fire, and medical services for 20 years. Other cities, including New York, Dallas, Denver, Fresno, Ca., and Austin, Tx., have similar 911 systems. Minneapolis’ computer-aided dispatch (CAD) took two years of planning. The funding came from a federal Department of Homeland Security grant to improve first responder technology for cities. Minneapolis 911 operators handle more than 1,200 calls on a typical day.