New Computer Aided Dispatch System Approved

OCEAN CITY – Resort officials this week signed off on a new computer-aided dispatch system (CAD) for the town’s police department after learning the existing system was nearing the end of its useful life.

During Tuesday’s work session, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Communications Division Manager Glen McIntyre presented a proposal for an upgraded CAD and records management system (RMS). McIntyre explained the last time the OCPD’s CAD-RMS system was upgraded was in 2005, but a variety of mergers among the industry’s leading providers has necessitated an upgrade now.

“We’ve been taking for a long time about the CAD-RMS,” he said. “The last time we upgraded was in 2005. Following several major acquisitions and mergers, our existing CAD-RMS product was decommissioned by our vendor. While end-of-life or end-of-support dates have been set, the vendor definitively ceased development and enhancement of the product nearly 24 months ago.”

McIntyre said the department is already seeing appreciable decline in its ability to utilize the new technologies on the market and even rather mundane tasks such as in-house maintenance are becoming problematic with the existing outdated program.

However, McIntyre said the news was not all bad. For example, because of the mergers and acquisitions of the industry’s leaders, a better product is now available.

In addition, the new vendor is offering a subscription model that includes an upfront payment for the system along with an annual fee that will be locked in for the life of the contract.

“We’ve been with our current vendor since 2005 and have undergone a series of spinoffs and acquisitions over the past 17 years,” he said. “Fortunately, the latest acquisition and merger saddled our vendor with three of the top tier CAD-RMS systems on the market.”

McIntyre said the transition to the new system should be expedited and seamless. He said neighboring Wicomico County has already made the transition to the new system.

“In essence, our proposal is simple,” he said. “We can migrate from our existing CAD-RMS suite to another feature-rich product offered by our current vendor. In so doing, we stand to save an inordinate amount of time and money, as all aspects of the transition are under the control and supervision of one company. The move immediately puts us back in a product being promoted, developed and enhanced to meet the rapidly changing needs of public safety, and ensures we have the opportunity to take advantage of emerging technologies.”

McIntyre said if the new CAD-RMS system was approved, there would an out-of-budget expense of around $214,000, which would cover the cost of all services, development, data migration, training and implementation. He said the $214,000 out-of-budget expense could be covered by existing public safety grant funds.

The current fiscal year 2023 budget includes annual CAD-RMS maintenance fees of around $190,000, a number that increases annually. However, the budgeted amount would cover the cost of the subscription fees each year for the new vendor.

“From a cost perspective, moving to a subscription model dramatically reduces our implementation costs, which could easily exceed a million dollars if we opted to purchase traditional perpetual licenses,” he said. “Qualifying grant funds are available to cover our development costs and fixed pricing in the contract means we’ll pay virtually the same amount for a new subscription as we would for legacy maintenance fees over the next five years. When considering our current situation, the question of whether or not to abandon our existing CAD-RMS suite becomes rhetorical.”

With little or no discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the new CAD-RMS system.

With the approval, McIntyre said it would take 12 to 15 months to fully go live, do the training and have it ready to go prior to the summer of 2024.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.