February 19, 2009

Mayor Daley Announces Major Upgrade To Chicago's 911 System

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced the completion of major upgrades to Chicago’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system at a press conference at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), 1411 W. Madison St.

The CAD system coordinates the City’s delivery of police, fire and Emergency Medical Service resources to 911 calls

“On an average day, Chicago’s 911 Center answers 15,000 calls for emergency service. Our call takers and dispatchers answer those calls with calm professionalism. Their job is a critical one,” said Mayor Daley.

“That is why it is so important that we provide 911 with the best tools availble to assist the residents who are calling in need,” he said.

The upgrade was paid for by a $6 million grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security and includes a new UNIX operating system, an upgraded Oracle database, new HP servers and Storage Area Network cabinets.

One of the most groundbreaking elements of this upgrade is the integration of the Operation Virtual Shield (OVS) camera network into each CAD workstation.

When a 911 call is received, the CAD system scans the OVS network to find any safety camera within 150 feet of the address of the call.

Within seconds, real time video of the location appears on the call taker’s screen.

The call taker and dispatchers can then use the video to provide first responders and Homeland Security officials with additional information during an emergency.

“Chicago is the first big city in the nation to have integrated its camera network into 911 operations, and it greatly enhances not only our Homeland Security strategy, but also our ability to fight crime,” added Daley.

“Today’s upgrades improve upon an already outstanding system, and will allow us to move into the next generation of efficiency in emergency response,” said Raymond Orozco, Executive Director, OEMC.

The UNIX Operating system is the CAD foundation, which allows the 911 floor to run modern applications like video from our camera surveillance network.

The upgraded Oracle database allows for more efficient writing of data and increased speed when calls are generated. It also allows for future development of the CAD applications.

The new HP integrity servers run smarter and faster than the previous systems and will help process the 5.4 million calls the 911 floor handles per year.

Finally, the Storage Area Network is the location where all Fire and Police data is filed from the integrity servers, and the upgrade ensures a more secure system.

The world-class voice and data radio system still provide information such as incident location, history of calls at the given address, available field resources and connections to external city, state and federal databases.

If a 911 call originates from a landline or cellular telephone, the phone number and location of the call, including building map and vital information of the surrounding area appears on the call taker's map screen.

It also provides police and fire personnel on the street with valuable information to help them respond quickly to emergency situations.

“Since September 11, 2001, our broad strategy has been to bring all our city resources together to keep the people of our city and our region safe,” Daley said.

“We continue to work closely with the federal government, state and regional agencies to use state-of-the-art technology and strategies to stay ahead of potential threats posed by increasingly sophisticated terrorist groups and to keep our neighborhoods safe from the threats posed by gangs, guns and drugs.

“Through a combination of technology and the hard work and dedication of police officers, firefighters and paramedics and the workers at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, our city will remain as safe and prepared as any big city can be,” he said.

Ray Orozco, Exceutive Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, gave a demonstration of the upgraded system.

On September 25, 1995, Chicago created the Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) to coordinate the City’s delivery of police, fire and Emergency Medical Service resources to 911 calls.