January 6, 2023 by Flynn Nogueira

Can Technology Help Solve PSAP Staffing Challenges?

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Industries: 9-1-1 & Law Enforcement

Topics: Command Center Software CAD NG9-1-1 PSAPs Public Safety Applications SaaS

What Arizona Is Learning When Technology Is Placed at the Forefront

What are the outcomes a PSAP should expect when embracing new technology? Can technology help solve PSAP turnover? Will It make the telecommunicator’s job easier? Both? Neither?

In a recent NENA webinar sponsored by Motorola Solutions, Travis Jensen, 9-1-1 Program Manager for the Arizona Department of Administration, Strategic Enterprise Division addresses these questions. Travis’s team oversees the network and infrastructure of the 9-1-1 system for the state. Travis shares how the Motorola Solutions technology Arizona is implementing throughout the state is changing the game and you may be surprised by what he and his team are learning. 

Below are some highlights from the webinar. You can access the full recording here.

Solutions for the All Too Common Problem 

Quote from Travis JensenTravis discusses the all too common problem agencies face where staffing is down anywhere from 25% to 50%. “In Arizona, in looking at staffing issues, we broke it down to two options,” says Travis. “You can hire more people, which I’m sure you’re all trying to do, or, find tools that alleviate the workload and make our dispatchers’ lives easier. The new tools we’re implementing do that. We’re now able to process calls in ways that we haven’t been able to do before.”

The technology tools Travis is referring to include CommandCentral Smart Transcription and CommandCentral Citizen Input. “With everything going on in our profession right now, we want to be trailblazers in Arizona and leverage the advances in technology to make our dispatchers’ jobs easier than they were yesterday,” says Travis.

In addition to making the job easier, Travis explains how Smart Transcriptions assists with staffing issues. “We have a new generation of people who may not be the most proficient in certain tool sets, but they know technology and they aren’t afraid to use it. Smart Transcription may alleviate any concerns somebody may have with typing because the call is transcribed for you. Plus, you no longer have to play back a tape multiple times to catch information missed. The tool does it for you. It’s a process improvement that improves the workflow.  We no longer have to rely on what we hear, but can now use what we are seeing to input the call information.”

Travis explained how Smart Transcription can also be used for quality assurance and quality control. “When staffing reaches a dangerous level, usually, one of the first things that goes by the wayside is the quality assurance piece” says Travis. “Now we can utilize Smart Transcription to make sure we’re hitting quality assurance from a different perspective and keep it as a priority in our agencies that are struggling with staffing.”

Cloud Technology

Smart Transcription and Citizen Input are cloud-based tools that integrate with the VESTA 9-1-1 system. When asked what advice Travis has for PSAPs that are hesitant about the cloud he says, “I think the responsibility is on each individual agency to educate themselves on the new technology and how it can benefit them. Learn as much as you can. Each agency is unique, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. But I do think this new technology is here; it isn’t going away. And I believe these tools remove a burden from your staff which could help with the retention and recruitment issues.”

There’s a lot more to hear and learn from Travis on the webinar recording. In addition to Travis’  interview, Kim Siepert from Motorola Solutions gives an overview of Smart Transcription including the new functionality planned for 2023.  

Take a few minutes and listen to the recording and the great questions from your colleagues at the end – Placing Technology at the Forefront of the PSAP – Helping Solve The Tough Challenges (webcaster4.com). After you listen, see how you would answer these questions:  

  • Can we expect technology to help address the staffing challenges? 
  • Will technology make the telecommunicator’s job easier? 

We’d love to hear from you! Send your response to: Flynn.Nogueira@motorolasolutions.com

For more information visit us at www.motorolasolutions.com/ng911  

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