The MAX Call Taking system recently installed for the Village of Rosemont, IL, equips Rosemont to handle the many visitors who are drawn to the area’s popular outlet malls and venues.
The Village of Rosemont, Illinois, is not your typical Chicago suburb. Although it has a population of 4,200, its proximity to O’Hare International Airport (five minutes) and downtown Chicago (twenty minutes) make it a thriving tourist, entertainment, outlet mall, convention, and trade-show hub that attracts roughly 75,000 visitors per day.
While this activity makes Rosemont dynamic and prosperous, it also poses real challenges to its local public safety answering point (PSAP). The agency must be equipped and ready to serve not only Rosemont’s resident citizens, but also the area’s huge and fluctuating transient population.
That’s why the Village of Rosemont recently updated their PSAP with Zetron’s MAX Call Taking system. The new state-of the-art, IP-based solution gives the agency the flexibility they need to respond as the situation demands. It combines both their administrative and 9-1-1 calls into a single system, connects with the local Voice-over-IP (VoIP) system, and equips them to handle text-to-911 and other Next-Generation functionality.
Public safety in the Village of Rosemont
Rosemont Village 9-1-1 coordinator, Jim O’Toole, describes his PSAP and the considerable responsibilities that fall to his agency. “The PSAP is part of the police department,” he says. “Our police officers are trained not only as police, but also as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. If we dispatch to a fire call, we have an officer go with the truck. Our officers all carry fire gear and a radio, and our firefighters are all certified police officers who can move into that role if we need extra police.”
“Here at our center, we answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch police, fire and EMS for the Village of Rosemont,” O’Toole continues. “But that’s not all. Interstate highways 90, 294, and 190 all converge at Rosemont. Average daily traffic coming through our area is close to 599,000. We often answer 9-1-1 calls that originate from those three major roads because of the way our cell towers are situated. We then forward some of those calls to the state police or Chicago PD, as appropriate, and sometimes send our fire or police to assist them.”
Updating the 9-1-1 center
The Village of Rosemont decided to update their equipment because both their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and 9-1-1 call-taking systems were aging and needed to be replaced. “Our CAD system couldn’t keep up with the demands on the agency,” says O’Toole. “And the call-taking system had reached its end of life and wasn’t Next-Generation compliant.”
Rosemont had also recently implemented a new community-based VoIP phone system. Their new call-taking system would have to integrate with the VoIP system in order to allow them to communicate with security officers and other personnel at the area’s many venues. They also wanted a system they could use for both administrative and 9-1-1 calls.
“Some time ago, I was at a PSAP where the administrative and 9-1-1 phones were not integrated,” O’Toole explains. “Suddenly, both phones at a position rang at the same time. The call taker didn’t know which one to answer first. He hesitated, trying to figure out what to do. Every second is precious in a PSAP; we can’t afford that kind of delay. We wanted to be sure our new system would combine functions and allow our call-takers to manage both types of calls simultaneously without putting callers at risk.”
The expert edge
The Village of Rosemont issued a request for proposals, then invited several vendors who responded to give demonstrations of their proposed solutions. This included Zetron reseller, Mercury Systems, of Naperville, IL, who had submitted a proposal based on Zetron’s MAX Call Taking system.
“Howard Gadorus of Mercury, and Zetron territory manager, Paul Singh, participated in the demos,” says O’Toole. “We fired a lot of questions at them. We asked, ‘Can the system do this, can the system do that?’ and they answered every question at the snap of a finger. Many of the vendors who gave demos couldn’t do that. Mercury and Zetron had the expert edge when it came to understanding and explaining their system and what it could do.”
Based on a comparison of each system’s capabilities and costs, vendor responses during the demonstrations, and the recommendations of the three dispatch personnel who sat in on the demos, Rosemont awarded Mercury Systems the project to install Zetron’s MAX Call Taking system.
Staging, training, and cutover
Gadorus says that they followed their routine process of fully staging and programming the new MAX Call Taking system before delivering it to the PSAP. This helps ensure that any kinks have been worked out and the final implementation goes smoothly.
“While the core was being configured, organized and put into the rack, our information-gathering team met with PSAP representative to collect all of the information for their trunks, telephone lines, speed dials, and transfers,” says Gadorus. “Then we loaded the phone book with all the supplemental information they use in their daily operations.”
Once the staging was done, Mercury set up several console positions in Rosemont’s training room and dispatchers were given two hands-on training sessions of about four hours each.
The final cutover followed. Each position was shut down and unplugged, one at a time, moved into the dispatch room, plugged in, and checked to make sure it would take phone calls and 9-1-1 calls.
“Mercury was on site with us for about 10 to 12 hours that day, making sure everything was operational,” says O’Toole. “They even stayed through our shift changes until everyone was acclimated to the new equipment.”
The process was completed without incident, thanks to the thoroughness of the preparation that went into it and the expertise and experience of those performing the installation.
‘A good purchase by the Village’
Summing up the project and the system’s performance ever since it was installed, O’Toole says he’s very grateful that MAX Call Taking was recommended to him. “It was a very good purchase by the Village and the public safety department,” he says. “The system has been running since day one. We’re proud of it, and our dispatchers are very happy with how it operates.”
Gadorus is pleased with the results of the project and the reliability of MAX Call Taking. “The system core is so advanced,” he says. “A PSAP manager or IT director who looks closely at its architecture will see that, from a technical standpoint—including its redundancy–MAX Call Taking exceeds everything else that’s currently out there. Plus, it allows me to sleep at night. I don’t worry that the system might malfunction–because it doesn’t!”