Winchester Police Department unveils new dispatch console

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

For the critical role of monitoring and responding as dispatchers, work at the Winchester Police Department just got more convenient.

During an open house at the Winchester Police Department station on Maple Street on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the public could view the new command and control consoles in the Communications Center.

“Our old furniture was about twenty years old. We were way overdue for an update,” said Captain Steve Charles.

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Presently, six different monitors are available for dispatchers to view.

As a result, they can observe radio operations, 911 and other phone calls, a CAD map that combines a geographic information system with a computer-aided design system to inform viewers where officers are located, a CAD system that allows inputting calls and gives other details to officers, an NCIC program allowing license plates and additional information to be gathered, and a platform called RapidDeploy which further aids with telecommunications and more.

The process of obtaining the consoles, which took approximately one year, began with an application for the 911 Services Board Grant.

Once accepted, the city of Winchester only had to pay approximately $5,000 for a purchase estimated at $60,000.

“It’s a huge burden off the city budget to be able to get this,” Charles added. “We always have to ask for permission to apply for a grant. Once we get the permission, then we apply for it, and then we have to get the [City] Commission to agree to their part of the budget.”

The consoles have various advantages.

Because of full-motion capabilities, the desks can rise up or down to near floor level.

Also, the monitors move up and down and go forward and back.

“You have full range of motion and customization,” Charles said. “You have dispatchers who are [different heights], and you have a whole range where they can be comfortable.”

The consoles were made and distributed through Russ Bassett, a company based in Whittier, California, specializing in designing and building console furniture, including monitor mounts.

Representatives came along with the installation team once the process began in January.

“I came out and actually took measurements of the room and everything and we did a design that we think works well for them,” said Trevor Simon, Director of New Product Development with Russ Bassett. “We were able to get better space efficiency, which allowed them to put [in] this new system that they weren’t able to use before because they didn’t have enough room for the equipment. It’s more effective [and] ergonomically better.”

Along with their duties in monitoring cameras that show various areas around town, including Clark Regional Medical Center, Clark County Public Schools, and various streets, the newly installed products are set to simply job tasks for the staff.

As mentioned by Dispatch Supervisor Ashley Reed, its benefits are already evident.

“It’s up-to-date now. Before, [the monitors] were mix-matched, and now they’re all the same,” she said.