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Here's how the city of Chicago is putting public safety first

By investing in improving its CAD system, Chicago is setting an example of how enhanced communication and integration is critical in public safety

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The Second City is making public safety its first priority. 

Chicago has partnered with CentralSquare Technologies to upgrade its computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system to enable faster, more efficient emergency response across the city. The deal is valued at $74.9 million, making it one of the largest public safety software deals of the past decade.

By partnering with CentralSquare Technologies to upgrade its CAD system, Chicago is sending a message that public safety is a top priority.
By partnering with CentralSquare Technologies to upgrade its CAD system, Chicago is sending a message that public safety is a top priority. (image/Getty)

Why these investments in public safety matter

Having a state-of-the-art CAD system is about more than being technologically savvy. An investment of this size shows Chicago’s commitment to creating a safer, more welcoming environment for its visitors and citizens alike. For a city with as large of a population as Chicago’s 2.7 million citizens, it is that critical law enforcement and public safety agencies are able to reach those in need quickly and efficiently.

How does CAD help?

CAD software enables dispatchers to send the right first responder to an emergency incident in the shortest amount of time. An updated, modern CAD system can provide many benefits for a large city like Chicago. The two major benefits Chicago will realize with CentralSquare include:

  • Multi-agency dispatch:
    • Police and fire departments work hand-in-hand during many emergency situations. However, more often than not, police and fire are on separate dispatch systems. In fact, of the top 18 major U.S. cities, only six are on a coordinated system. For cities using separate systems, when an emergency requires mutual aid, a dispatcher must pick up the phone to call the other agency, then relay pertinent incident information a second time in order to receive the appropriate mutual aid. With CentralSquare, Chicago now becomes the 7th major city whose police and fire are on the same CAD system, accelerating the agencies’ ability to quickly share relevant data.
  • Smooth integration into other systems:
    • Major cities usually have additional software applications for various other public safety purposes, such as crime reporting, gunshot detection and more. And many are not easily integrated with different systems, which leads to a lot of clicks and switching back and forth between several screens. CentralSquare CAD can integrate seamlessly into the city’s existing systems, from security cameras to gunshot detection sensors, providing every first responder in Chicago with a 360-degree view of every incident, increasing situational awareness and improving officer safety.

How this will help first responders

The new CAD system will help speed response time through enhanced communication and integration as well as remain up to date through automatic security and software updates. 

Law enforcement officers and firefighters put it all on the line on a daily basis to help people during some of life’s worst moments. Technology has the ability to augment public safety’s courageous efforts. Chicago’s investment in public safety technology demonstrates the city’s commitment to making the city as safe as possible.

To learn more, see the Chicago OEMC announcement:

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