Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

After three months of enduring frequent computer crashes and glitches, New Lenox Fire Chief Steve Engledow has had enough and is urging the Will County 911 board to dump the recently upgraded 911 system by Motorola Solutions.

System crashes and slow responses have been common complaints among dispatchers and police and fire personnel since the new Premiere One system began operating Nov. 6. The complaints are that the Premier One software shuts down or freezes up without warning and the map screen goes blank or fails to provide proper directions. Dispatchers say they have had difficulty sending information to mobile units.

The system also at times provides wrong information about the responding agency or sends the wrong personnel or equipment to a scene, according to Engledow and other local police and fire officials who attended a Jan. 29 special meeting of the county’s Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB).

Deputy Sheriff Robert Contro said it has been an IT nightmare with the sheriff’s department’s 175 laptop computers, leaving officers at times unable to write tickets, according to a video of that meeting.

“We are very frustrated. People on the street can’t do their job,” Mokena Police Chief Steve Vaccaro said. “Police officers lives are at stake. Community safety is at stake.”

No one has been harmed yet as a result of the system failures, but the potential is there, said Steve Rauter, director of Wescom, one of the county’s busiest dispatch centers, in Plainfield.

Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold said at the meeting that his officers were put in danger when they failed to get information from dispatchers about a domestic violence incident, in which a man was hiding in a house with a knife, because the system froze for 10 minutes.

Emotions ran high during the 2 1/2 -hour session, which gave the county’s emergency personnel a chance to air their concerns to representatives from Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions. The company issued a statement that says, “Motorola Solutions developed a dispatch software solution to meet Will County’s requirements and is committed to continue working with our customer to resolve issues with priority resources and expertise, and meet or exceed the county’s expectations for reliability and service.”

The ETSB began looking for a new 911 system four years ago for its six dispatch centers and decided to upgrade rather than replace the existing system. It awarded a $2 million contract to Motorola, but the revised system became complicated and took two years to complete. The ETSB is withholding $900,000 of the $2 million contract until the problems are resolved.

“Motorola is working on an aggressive timetable set by the board,” said Steve Figved, ETSB’s chief administrator. “They have guaranteed this will be fixed. … I really believe they will meet that deadline.”

thanks Dan

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