Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos launch joint dispatch system

New technology allows police to communicate across city lines

After two years of planning, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos police departments last week officially rolled out a joint dispatch system, a virtual consolidation that allows all three cities to immediately share information, dispatch calls and communicate with first responders across city boundaries.

A Los Altos Police Department press release calls the upgrade "the most significant public safety information technology project that the three cities have undertaken in the past decade."

The project was first proposed in 2011, then approved by all three cities in 2012.

The $3-million cost is being split "proportionately" among the cities.

Previously, each city's police department used an independent computer aided dispatch (CAD) system. The new, consolidated Integraph system "increases efficiency, reduces response times, and improves the use of resources during mutual aid incidents or emergencies that cross jurisdictional boundaries," the press release reads.

Police said the system is "functioning as expected" and Integraph staff are staying on site during the initial rollout period to help with any issues that might arise.

The new system will allow the three communications centers to function in a coordinated manner. The Palo Alto Communications Center is the 9-1-1 public-safety answering point for both the City of Palo Alto and Stanford University. and dispatches for the Palo Alto Police and Fire departments, the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, Palo Alto Utilities, Palo Alto Public Works, Palo Alto Animal Services and park rangers with Palo Alto Open Space.

The Mountain View Emergency Communications Center takes 9-1-1 calls from for the City of Mountain View and provides dispatching services for the Mountain View Police and Fire departments and Mid-Peninsula Open Space District. It also provides after-hour communications for the city's Public Works Department.

The Los Altos Communications Center is the dispatch system for the City of Los Altos. It also provides after-hour communications for the city's Public Works Department.

Questions about the new system can be directed to Elizabeth Vargas, Los Altos Police services manager, at 650-947-2770.


Like this comment
Posted by Here is an idea
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Why not consolidate all 3 departments into one?

This would greatly reduce the duplicated administrative costs.

Like this comment
Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

You would think that, right?'s one thing for these agencies to streamline procedures among themselves. It's something else altogether for them to give up what they consider to be their own entities that they have control over.

Something to do with power bases and things like that...

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