In final public hearing, Chief Wingert
offers critical upgrade to 911 dispatch
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
Paradise Valley Police Chief Peter Wingert Thursday, Dec. 8 , outlined a telecommunications program he believes will be a vital communications link between someone in need and the local police department.
“This is bittersweet and I hope to get through this, as I have several times today, without getting misty-eyed,” said Chief Wingert, who, after a seven-year tenure at the Town of Paradise Valley, is retiring from sworn duty.
The telecommunications program he outlined translates to a triple-redundant emergency contact line made available through AT&T’s NG9-11 software upgrade and program to existing 911 communications at the Paradise Valley Police Department.
“This is the most critical piece of software we have,” he explained of the Regional 911 program provided by the Maricopa Association of Governments and funded through the Arizona Department of Administration.
“The town has no agreement or contract with Regional 911 for services rendered. There are no service levels because there is no agreement out of the MAG group.”
Today the Paradise Valley Police Department uses the MR911 program — or Maricopa Regional 911 — but, just recently, the Arizona Department of Administration completed a competitive solicitation for those services in Arizona. Chief Winger reports AT&T won the state bid and is now offering its ADOA program.
Paradise Valley 911 to evolve
“The Paradise Valley Police Department communication is the primary answering point for the town and the immediate area,” Chief Wingert explained. “The biggest benefit for us with AT&T is it allows three different redundant paths to reach dispatch through 911. There would be three ways we are getting the phone calls that we need.”
Chief Wingert outlined the existing 911 system has not had any significant software update in six years.
“Paradise Valley has the opportunity to get next generation 911 service,” Chief Wingert explained of 21st century tools like automated response to abandoned calls for emergency service. “This would mean our dispatch would not have to call back about 1,100 abandoned calls.”
Chief Wingert explained an abandoned 911 call is a situation were, for example, an automobile accident occurs and dispatch receives several calls to report the accident. Not all calls are answered and the caller than abandons the call.
As of November 2022, the Paradise Valley Police Department has seen over 7,000 abandoned calls for emergency service whereas dispatch employees called each back by hand — and have done so for years, Chief Wingert pointed out.
“This was something that was identified through our strategic plan — this is an opportunity,” he explained.
Found part of the Dec. 8 staff report to Town Council are estimation of how the next program could benefit residents of the community:
- Citizen Input: a software program native to the 9-1-1 system that allows photos,videos, and live-streaming of data from the incident scene to the dispatcher.
- Smart Transcription: live transcription of the conversation between the dispatcher and the caller that can be reviewed to assist in safely dispatching responders.
- Automatic Abandoned Callback: software that immediately and automatically calls back 9-1-1 callers who abandon the call prior to the dispatcher picking up.
Chief Wingert outlined an $150,000 front-loaded request that is a 100% reimbursable grant through the state of Arizona. Paradise Valley Town Council, during its Dec. 8 work session discussion, agreed with Chief Wingert the contract ought to be pursued heading into the new year.