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November 2011

Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Law Enforcement and Residents Nationwide Rely on Nixle during Recent Natural Disasters

Nixle LLC, a free provider of informational communication services between government agencies and the communities they serve, received 26,000 new citizen subscribers during two recent natural disasters: Hurricane Irene and the massive Texas wildfires. In areas affected by these catastrophes, agencies using the Nixle high-performance notification system were able to provide their citizens with real-time warnings, information, and evacuation details.

During the 11-day period from August 23 through September 2, from the identification and eventual landfall of Hurricane Irene and coinciding with the height of the Texas wildfires, the vast majority of new subscribers resided in the affected areas. The state of New Jersey alone had more than 13,000 registrations. Likewise, during that same period, government agencies using the Nixle system sent more than 2.1 million email messages and another 1.3 million text messages.

The Pflugerville, Texas, Police Department is an example of a law enforcement agency using Nixle to save lives and keep citizens informed of impending danger. Over a four-hour period oneafternoon, it alerted citizens to a growing grass fire, issued a mandatory evacuation, gave directions on where to evacuate, sent updates, and issued assorted precautions.

As critical a job as it performs in emergencies, the Nixle communication system is used every day by public safety agencies across the country to distribute information such as traffic alerts, safety tips, crime information, community outreach programs, and general civic affairs. Messages always come with a priority level so receivers can instantly know the severity of the message.

The Los Angeles, California, Police Department (LAPD) also uses Nixle to communicate essential information to citizens.

“Nixle is the first professional-grade mass communications system allowing the LAPD to communicate directly with a geographically specific portion of the community,” said Chief Charlie Beck.

For more information, visit

New Haven, Connecticut, Contracts with Duncan Solutions for an Enhanced Parking Management System

Citing customer service and efficiency as primary benefits for the New Haven, Connecticut, new parking system, Duncan Solutions of Milwaukee, Wisconsin—a provider of parking management products and services to municipalities—announced that it has been awarded a contract for citation processing, handheld enforcement units, and debt collection for New Haven.

The change to new equipment, software, and services is designed to enhance customer service delivery and make ticket and permit processing more efficient and customer friendly.

In December 2010, the city of New Haven released a request for proposals for a new parking management system, with a goal of acquiring a turnkey service to reduce the level of clerical work and paper handling, while increasing customer service levels, financial accountability, and methods of payment associated with the city’s parking services.

“The new system from Duncan Solutions will help us improve customer service and operational efficiencies,” said Jim Travers, director of the City of New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic, and Parking. “We will now offer online services such as ticket payment and hearings for contested tickets. The automation is certainly going to streamline processes and make paying for parking tickets as painless as possible.”

The city’s contract with Duncan includes citation processing services, enforcement handhelds, delinquent citation collections, and a wide variety of convenient customer service features. Duncan Solutions provides parking management products and services to municipal and commercial clients worldwide, including parking meters, enforcement solutions, citation processing, collection of delinquent fines and fees, and parking program management.

For more information, visit

FATPOT Technologies Brings New CAD-to-CAD Integration System to Johnson, County, Kansas

FATPOT Technologies, a provider of public safety and security technology, interoperability, and integration, has completed the installation of a new, integrated computer-aided dispatch interoperability system (CADIS) administered by the Johnson County Emergency Communication Center (ECC) in Olathe, Kansas.

The county’s existing public safety communications network operates off of two separate computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems—one for police and another for fire and medical personnel—which means messages have to be relayed through different channels. With these different steps, emergency activity and response times can be slowed.

The new, customized middleware CAD solution from FATPOT translates between these two systems, seamlessly linking them for system-level collaboration. This includes automatic vehicle location and other CAD collaboration tools, including a real-time, dynamic map. The ECC and dispatchers in five other dispatch centers can view the location of other mission-critical personnel, calls for service, and resources to quickly identify and manage incidents.

“Our dispatchers, officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians in the field are very excited to have more information at their fingertips,” said Christopher Hall, Johnson County’s information technology services project manager. “The new CADIS system from FATPOT is part of Johnson County’s ongoing commitment to finding new and innovative ways to keep our community a safe place to call home. We look forward to serving and protecting even better than before for years to come.”

FATPOT has successfully deployed its unique and robust technology solutions in approximately 150 city, county, and statewide public csafety agencies across the United States. ■

For more information, visit

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 11, November 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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