REEDSPORT — City councilors have given the go ahead for purchasing a hands-free radio and phones for police dispatchers.

In his report to councilors, Police Chief Duane Wisehart said the system will cost less than $35,000.

"The police department currently has an analog multimedia logging recorder system that is at least 15 years old," Wisehart stated. The system records and stores all police, ambulance and fire radio transmissions as well as all phone lines in the police building. Plus recordings are "routinely requested" by the courts, the Douglas County district attorney and others.

"There are much newer systems with better technology available that require much less time to search for and make recordings," Wisehart said.

The system allows instant playback of radio traffic so that if a dispatcher doesn't hear what was said she can rewind and play back the last transmission

"This is a very important feature for officer safety," the chief emphasized. "The current system has had a couple of upgrades since its original purchase but basically has exceeded its useful life."

In addition, the playback function isn't working and the system would need a significant update to fix this issue.

Along with the necessity to upgrade the system, "coincides with the department's desire to have a telephone system that will also allow the dispatchers to use wireless headsets and microphones instead of relying on mounted speakers and external microphones."

Reedsport police are negotiating with Douglas County personnel to install a Computer Aided Dispatch, or CAD, workstation in the center, "which will make transferring calls for service in our area much faster and less cumbersome on the dispatchers on both ends."

He said with the CAD station, "911 call information and statuses are more easily and seamlessly transferred and relayed to us from Douglas County."

Chief Wisehart continued by stating that "this will increase the need for our dispatchers to be hands free as they multi task. Currently they must hold the telephone handset with one hand and try to use one hand for everything else."

He noted that although these are two technically separate efforts, they are so closely related that they'll have the same vendors and installers.

The Umpqua Post Editor Shelby Case can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 296 or shelby.case@theworldlink.com.

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Umpqua Post Editor