Center Line adds new dispatch system

By: Brian Wells | Warren Weekly | Published September 16, 2022


CENTER LINE — When Center Line Police Dispatcher John Turpin received a call from a person about a power line down on top of their garage, it was almost like he was at the scene.

Using a new system operating at the dispatch center called Prepared Live, Turpin was able to send a link to the person’s phone that allowed him to access the phone’s camera to see what was happening.

“I asked them to open up the link, show me where the wire was. It showed me where the wire was and how it was laying across the garage,” he said. “That helped me explain to my guys that I was dispatching what the problem was.”

Prepared Live is a system that allows dispatchers to livestream with mobile 911 callers to receive photos, video, texts and GPS locations. Once a dispatcher has received a call, it gets entered into the system, where they can then send a text message to the caller containing a link to a website that will grant the dispatcher access to the phone’s camera.

The system can also help a dispatcher get a location of a caller as long as the phone’s location setting is turned on. They can also send a text message back to someone after a call has been dropped or disconnected.

People can also upload media to dispatchers through the system. As an example, Turpin said if someone’s elderly father walks away from a home, he can have the person upload a photo of the missing person.

“If they’re going to give me a description, I asked, do you have any recent pictures of him, and maybe one (from) today? I mean, what he’s wearing or something,” he said. “I’m going to send you a link to where you can upload that picture to me right away so we can immediately get that out to our units.”

The system doesn’t require any special applications to be downloaded on a caller’s phone.

Other instances where the video feature has come in handy have been animal complaints and car crashes, Turpin said. He has also used it to help callers figure out their location.

The video feature also has several privacy settings, including the option for the caller or dispatcher to turn off or blur the screen in sensitive situations.

“Let’s say I’ve got a queasy stomach and you’re sitting there bleeding all over the place. I can blur this view to where I can’t technically see you but it’s still recording a clear picture,” he said. “If I hit the blur it’s recording clearly but I can’t see the carnage.”

Deputy Chief Jorge Bermudez said that the information that can be obtained through the system and sent to units that have been dispatched is helpful in keeping them up to date as a scene evolves.

“You … know how quickly scenes evolved right from when they originally come in. This will give the dispatcher (the ability) to give us the most current information as it’s unfolding,” he said.

While they’re still in the learning phase with the system, Bermudez and Turpin both agree that the system has been a success.

“It’s a great tool,” Turpin said.