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Santa Maria PD using new technology to cut response time, solve cases faster

Nathalie Vera/
Santa Maria PD is using the the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to improve response times.

SANTA MARIA, Calif.-- Santa Maria police have a new weapon to fight crime --state-of-the-art technology to improve response times, help detectives get information faster, and allow the agency to better track incidents.

“This is a system that we've been working on for the past three years," said Sgt. Alfredo Ruiz of Santa Maria PD. "It's the Motorola Premiere One Solution."

The computer-aided dispatch system –or CAD system –comes with a GPS feature.

“That is very important for public safety because if we have a critical incident happening in a particular area of our city, the dispatch can look for closer unit response and they will send that unit that is in the area, thus cutting down the response time.”

Sgt. Ruiz says dispatchers didn't have officers' exact locations before. Now, they can track all units on their screens.

The CAD system allows the department to keep a more detailed account of response times, too.

“It tracks the time it took the dispatcher to pick up the phone, the time it takes the dispatcher to dispatch the call to one of our officers, and it also tracks how long it took the officer to respond to the call for service, and when it was cleared," Ruiz said.

The technology is also a game changer for records keeping.

“Before, say we had a robbery, it would take a couple of days for the report to go through the process and approval, vetting of the records personnel. Then it would make it to the detective bureau.”

Sgt. Ruiz says detectives were losing valuable time in an investigation. The new system streamlines this process and sends digital records to the detective bureau.

"Before, whereas it would take three days, now it's a matter of minutes or hours to get that information."

The system also helps SMPD with incident tracking and call volume statistics, a tool used to better deploy resources.

“These type of dashboards will allow us to do a better job in staffing the city appropriately," said Ruiz.

Sgt. Ruiz says future plans include adding a digital citation module for officers, and an online reporting tool for residents that would allow them to file a police report from home.

The CAD system went live in early November.

It cost Santa Maria $3 million; the city is paying another $2.8 million a year for the next decade for maintenance and support from Motorola.

The Santa Maria police dispatch centers takes 400 to 500 calls a day on average, which includes Police and Fire.

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Nathalie Vera


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