Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety dispatcher Gwen Mitchell uses the department’s new internet-based telephone system.

Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety dispatcher Gwen Mitchell uses the department’s new internet-based telephone system.

Photo by Maria Allard

New dispatch system up and running in Grosse Pointe Woods

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 27, 2018


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — During one year’s time, the Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety receives an average of 4,000 emergency phone calls and approximately 20,000 nonemergency calls.

For the past 24 years, the department’s dispatchers — the personnel responsible for receiving and transmitting messages between police officers and callers who need medical and/or police assistance — have used an analog system when answering emergency calls.

But the analog system has been deemed outdated and was recently put to rest. On Nov. 7, the department launched a new internet-based telephone system that Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety Director John Kosanke said will allow the department to operate in a much more efficient manner.

“It’s very easy to use and has a lot of functions. My dispatchers really like it,” Kosanke said. “The old system had very limited information. The (new) system definitely has potential for a lot of growth.”

The internet-based Vesta system was purchased for $110,057.15 from Carousel Industries of North America, with corporate headquarters located in Exeter, Rhode Island. Grosse Pointe Woods officials used funding from the city’s $2.5 million critical infrastructure bond to purchase the new system.

The new system is designed to keep 911 callers, dispatchers and public safety officers connected. When a call comes in, the name of the caller, their phone number and address are displayed on a “call information” screen. From there, dispatchers can quickly relay pertinent information to officers during an emergency, medical situation, fire or police incident.    

Dispatchers were able to input the phone numbers of all the businesses in Grosse Pointe Woods into the computer-based system, as well as other local public safety departments, several local medical facilities and MedStar. The analog system did not allow for that, and now, phone numbers are available with just one click if necessary. Prior to that, dispatchers had to look up phone numbers in an oversized binder.

“It really speeds up efficiency. It cuts down on the dispatchers having to type the information in,” Kosanke said. “Dispatchers can use the screen to answer phone calls so they don’t have to use the telephone. When calls come in, dispatchers can dispatch by computer.”

Dispatcher Gwen Mitchell has adapted to the new system.

“It’s fast and very convenient,” she said. “We have everything on one screen.”

Kosanke can access police reports quickly with the new system.

“If I want to see how many 911 calls per day, I can pull it up,” he said. “Before, dispatch had to do it by hand.”