(CBS) — A Chicago area police chief says his officers are being put in danger because of a problem with a multi-million dollar dispatch system.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.
Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold says whether a squad computer receives a message from the Wescom 9-1-1 Center can mean life or death for one of his officers.
“They can’t log on or it takes a long time for them to log back on, and in that time, they’re not receiving the information they need,” he says.
All Channahon 9-1-1 calls are dispatched from the Wescom 9-1-1 Center in Plainfield. This center takes calls for numerous fire and police departments like Crest Hill and Lockport. First-responders are venting their frustration with the dispatch system Wescom uses — Motorola Premier One.
They spoke at a Will County Emergency Telephone System Board meeting this week.
“It has been terrible. I’ve only had it work one day this month where I could actually use it — one day,” said Steve Engledow, the fire chief for the New Lenox Fire Protection District.
“It’s a terrible product. It needs to go. I would like to see the board take action, roll us back to what we had so we don’t hurt somebody,” he added.
That’s the same concern shared by Chief Wold. Last month, his officers responded to what they thought was a well-being check.
“They encountered an intoxicated gentleman who had a knife in his possession,” the police chief says.
He says responding officers did not get the information they needed.
“We looked into it the next day, and it turned out that the call-taker got the information and entered it into her computer terminal, but the dispatcher’s computer terminal froze up,” Wold says.
At the telephone system board meeting this week, the chair put Motorola on the hot seat.
Julie Ponce-Doyle asked: “Why do you keep selling this to agencies who are now having the same problems?”
Issues with the system have also been reported in other states.
“This system is putting officers at risk, and I would like to see some corrections made in the immediate future,” Wold says.
Motorola solutions issued this statement in response to CBS 2 inquiries:
“Motorola Solutions is working with agencies in Will County to resolve any reported issues as quickly as possible. Motorola Solutions is responding with priority resources and are giving this our full attention and support. Motorola Solutions is committed to providing our Will County customers with a mission-critical system for dispatchers and first responders that meet or exceed their expectations for reliability, service and support.”