Communications Enhancements...


Keeping Up With Technology!

Since the voters approved the referendum to create the Caddo Parish Communications District Number One on April 5, 1986, many technological advancements have been made, especially in the world of public safety communications. In an effort to ensure that the citizens of Caddo Parish receive the benefits of the available technology, the District entered into inter-governmental agreements with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office and the City of Shreveport.  The terms of these agreements provided that the City and the Parish would employ the personnel who answer, interrogate and dispatch all 9-1-1 telephone calls for emergency assistance.   In exchange for them providing the personnel, the District agreed to provide a facility to house the communications divisions of the Shreveport Police, Shreveport Fire, and Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, provide training for all of their communications officers and provide communications enhancements as funding was available.  

To fulfill its contractual responsibilities, the District constructed the Emergency Communications Center, located at 1144 Texas Avenue, Shreveport, Louisiana. The facility was remodeled in 1998 to meet the growing needs of the agencies who work there.  The District implemented a new Computer-Assisted-Dispatch system, which includes a Geographic Information System mapping program.  On February 26, 1998, the District installed the first digital Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) telephone system in the State of Louisiana.  New console workstations and radio electronics were purchased and installed in the newly remodeled Emergency Communications Center. In late summer of 2000, the District implemented a parish-wide alpha-numeric paging system using District owned frequencies and equipment instead of a commercial paging system.  On October 15, 2001 the District implemented a parish-wide, 7-tower site, 800 MHz 15-channel simulcast trunked radio system to replace the existing radio systems of each agency, some of which are over 20 years old.

This page offers details on each project, or you can click on the bookmark above to go directly to the project that interests you the most.  Should you need additional information about these projects, please contact the Caddo 9-1-1 Administrative Staff.  Thank you. 

 

FACILITY EXPANSION PROJECT

In November, 1996, construction began on the $2.5 million facility expansion project. The expansion project consisted of adding approximately 9,000 square feet to the existing facility bringing the total 9-1-1 facility to over 20,000 square feet. The addition consists of a new communications operations area for the public safety agencies with administrative offices and a new communications equipment room. The facility design was based upon a broad base of input from each of the agencies, especially for the common or shared facilities such as break rooms, kitchen, toilets and locker rooms. This input included touring other communications centers located throughout the country and involved the employees down to the color selection of flooring and wall coverings. On February 26, 1998, the communications operations for each of the agencies were moved into the new communications center. Once the communications operations had been relocated, the facility expansion project then required the remodeling the old communications center incorporating a new training center with fully operational consoles and an automated rear projection video system with inputs for computers, cable, and satellite access. The newly remodeled area includes a stress mitigation room with physical fitness equipment for the employees and a secure, beautifully landscaped outdoor courtyard. The facility expansion project was completed in October 15, 1998. Total Cost of the facility expansion project was $2,461,922.

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INTERGRAPH COMPUTER-AIDED-DISPATCH SYSTEM

On December 15, 1998, an Intergraph Public Safety Computer-Aided-Dispatch (CAD) system was implemented. The new CAD system automated all of the independent fire districts, which provide fire/EMS services to the rural areas of the parish, as well as the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Shreveport Police and Fire Communications Divisions. The primary function of the new CAD system to more efficiently and effectively facilitate the response to emergency calls for service through the 9-1-1 emergency reporting telephone system, determine the location of the emergency, dispatch the appropriate law enforcement/fire /EMS units and maintain a status of units assigned and available to be assigned. The new CAD system increased speed, accuracy and reliability of the dispatch process, thus reducing response times; increasing safety by improving information available to field units; improving utilization and management of law enforcement, fire fighting and emergency medical services by providing more accurate and timely information about incidents and by improved status keeping and display. The new CAD system is graphics-based and will be utilizing the new digitized base-map of Caddo Parish with longitude and latitude, guaranteeing accuracy within 2 and 1/2 feet. The new CAD system is a client/server-based system on a Windows NT operating system with dual processors for redundancy for total system reliability. The Records Management portion of the system wa implemented in December, 1999, and collects data concerning calls for service and subsequent responses in support of management information for resource and departmental activity. Total cost of the Intergraph CAD/RMS system was $1,838,674.

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GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM

On September 5, 1996, an intergovernmental agreement between the Northwest Louisiana Council of Government, the Caddo Parish Tax Assessor, the City of Shreveport, the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 District and the Shreveport/Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission, was executed for the development of a regional Geographical Information System, or ReGIS. This cooperative endeavor enabled the system to be developed at a significant cost reduction and eliminated the duplication of efforts by the various agencies. The digitized map that was developed through this project serves as the new basemap for the Districtís Intergraph Computer-Aided-Dispatch (CAD) System. Since the original agreements were executed Bossier Parish 9-1-1, Bossier Parish Tax Assessorís office, and the City of Bossier have become members of ReGIS. Total Cost of the Districtís participation in the Regional GIS project was $115,332.15.

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9-1-1 DIGITAL PSAP/TANDEM UPGRADE

On February 26, 1998, the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 system went DIGITAL. BellSouth and Tel Control, Inc. (TCI) partnered with the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 District to provide a totally integrated digital PSAP with 28 calltaker/dispatcher console positions. This partnership was the first such joint project in the State of Louisiana between TCI, BellSouth and Caddo 9-1-1, but it was also the first totally DIGITAL SYSTEM OF ITS KIND IN THE STATE AS WELL, and only the second one in the nine southern states area. The new TCI EDP (Enhanced Digital PSAP) software is installed on Intergraph Public Safety Pentium based personal computers running the Microsoft Windows NT operating system. Each call taker position is equipped with a TCI Digital Centrex interface board that provides voice and data connectivity to the BellSouth DMS tandem to access the 9-1-1 network. Each workstation has integrated Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) capabilities which allows each workstation to serve as TDD detection, answering and communications devices. The EDP software provides 9-1-1 call hang-up processing, which enables the communications officers to automatically redial the telephone number that called into the system and hung up, and provides instant playback recording capabilities to each workstation. To accomplish this upgrade, the BellSouth network was replaced with digital lines that provide central office functionality of Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) features of the Northern Central Office Switch. T1’s are being utilized for the 9-1-1 trunks and other voice circuits such as ringdowns (hotlines to the hospitals and fire stations, utility companies) non-emergency and administrative telephone lines. Additionally, BellSouth’s Megalink service was installed that provides separate fiber loops into the facility, which will guarantee that if the primary service is interrupted, such as a cut cable, the service will be switched to an alternate facility path within sixty seconds or less. This new digital PSAP and network are also Phase I compliant with FCC Order 94-102 and will be compatible with the provisioning of Automatic Number Identification for our wireless 9-1-1 users when our area wireless providers are ready for implementation. Total Cost for the new Digital PSAP and network upgrades was $500,599.65

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RADIO ELECTRONICS AND CONSOLE FURNITURE UPGRADE

On February 26, 1998, the new Motorola Centracom Gold Elite Radio Electronics system became fully operational in the Emergency Communications Center. The new radio electronics upgrade is based upon the Microsoft Windows NT platform, which provides integration of the radio electronics in a Personal Computer. The primary benefits of the system allow the users more flexibility by moving into a computer-based radio control that enables flexibility of dispatching emergency personnel. Dispatchers are now able to simultaneously transmit and receive messages from multiple groups, which becomes critically important during major emergencies or natural disasters. Via the new Motorola workstations, the dispatchers can easily access features through the "touch" of the CRT screen or by "the click of a mouse". The console furniture itself is all modular design, which enables easy re-arrangement of console design or layout. This is especially important when preparing for future growth. The console furniture is motorized for true workstation ergonomics and it meets all ADA standards. This radio electronics upgrade enabled the District to build upon an existing investment of radio communications equipment, while at the same time enhancing the console features. That allowed the District to migrate to the next phase of radio communications enhancements, the 800 MHz trunked radio system. Total Cost for the Radio Electronics and Console Furniture Upgrade was $1,006,186.01.

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7 SITE 800 MHz 15-CHANNEL SIMULCAST TRUNKED RADIO SYSTEM

On September 21, 1996, the voters of Caddo Parish overwhelmingly approved an increase in the 9-1-1 surcharge fee, which enabled the funding of the parishwide 800 MHz trunked radio system for all of the public safety agencies in Caddo Parish. In June 1997, the District’s radio engineers, OMNICOM, Inc., developed a comprehensive Statement of Work for the installation and implementation of a seven (7) site 15-channel 800 MHz Simulcast Trunked Radio System. As a result, the District executed an agreement with Motorola in December 1997. The contract with Motorola for the implementation of this new system is divided into two (2) phases. Phase I of the proposed project involved the utilization of seven (7) tower sites strategically located throughout the parish, the installation of the repeaters and microwave system that comprises the radio infrastructure or backbone of the system. The estimated cost of Phase I was approximately $6,715,392. Phase II of the project was the purchase and installation of the mobile and portable radio equipment for the field personnel for each of the public safety agencies. Phase II of the project cost an estimated $4,532,367. Total cost for Phases I & II was approximately $11,247,759.

On October 15, 2001, the new 800 MHz Simulcast Trunked Radio System went on-line. The new radio system will enables all public safety agencies in Caddo Parish to communicate more efficiently and effectively by sharing one common radio network and totally compatible radio equipment and frequencies. Prior to October 15, 2001 Caddo Parish public safety agencies operated independently and utilized different radio frequencies. Because of this individuality, during times of natural disasters or major emergencies, public safety personnel could not easily communicate with each other during critical situations. To further complicate this problem, these Caddo Parish agencies could not communicate with Bossier City Police and Fire Departments, the Bossier Parish Sheriff or the Louisiana State Police. The Bossier agencies and the Louisiana State Police were operating on Motorola trunked radio systems and were not compatible with the old systems in Caddo. This inability to communicate with adjacent jurisdictions and within the parish during natural disasters or coordinated law enforcement activities resulted in the lack of coordination, uniformity and unity. All of that changed on October 15, 2001. The new 800 MHz radio system insures total interoperability with the State Police, Bossier Parish Sheriff, Bossier City Police and Fire Departments.

Currently the radio system supports close to 5,000 radios for 23 public safety agencies and 13 local governmental agencies. For the first time in radio communications history all of the Caddo Parish public safety and local governmental agencies can communicate with each other and with the Bossier City, Bossier Parish and Louisiana State Police agencies.

Participating Public Safety agencies include:

Shreveport Police Department
Shreveport Fire and EMS Department
Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office
Caddo Parish Fire Districts 1 - 8
Vivian Police Department
Greenwood Police Department
Blanchard Police Department
Oil City Police Department
Mooringsport Police Department
Rodessa Police Department
Gilliam Police Department
Ida Police Department
Hosston Police Department
North Caddo Medical Center
Balentine Ambulance
Life Air Rescue

Local Governmental Agencies

City of Shreveport - Department of Operational Services
City of Shreveport Traffic Engineering
Caddo Parish Commission
Shreveport Regional Airport Authority
Shreveport Transit Management
LSU Health Services Center
United States Marshals Service
Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office
LA Department of Probation and Parole
City Marshal's Office of Shreveport
Caddo Parish School Board Security
LSU-S Security
Motorists Assistance Program

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PARISH WIDE PAGING SYSTEM

All of the fire districts in Caddo Parish utilize the assistance of volunteer firefighters for emergencies in their districts. These volunteers, as well as paid employees, are notified of emergencies through pagers. The 9-1-1 District's board of commissioners was informed that the independent paging systems, used by each district, were unreliable and did not provide coverage in various areas of the parish. In an effort to ensure that volunteers received their notifications of emergencies, the District contracted with Motorola, Inc. for the purchase of a parish-wide paging system. This system is a stand-alone, non-commercial system and cost approximately $330,000. One VHS simulcast paging transmitters was hung on each of the existing seven towers for the 800 MHz trunked radio system. The transmitters are controlled by a 72 MHz Link Control System. This system provides group and individual paging. The fire districts were given the option of using alpha-numeric pagers or tone/voice pagers. As the CAD system creates an incident, it is sent to the pagers for the responding agency, in addition to sending the incident to a computer and printer located at the fire station. This allows the volunteers and off-duty firemen to receive the type of call, location, and details of each incident on their pager, whereever they may be.

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9-1-1 ACTIVITY LINK

When the phone rings in a 9-1-1 center, the telecommunicator never knows if it is going to be a crime in progress, a major wreck with injuries, a fire, or medical emergency. Sometimes that call is from a citizen or a representative of the media, asking, "what were those sirens I just heard? What was that loud noise? Was that a car backfiring or shots being fired?" Everyone is interested in local news events, especially those involving public safety. To complicate the problem with non-emergency calls to our communications center, on October 15, 2001, the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 District implemented a Motorola 15-channel 800 MHz simulcast trunked radio system, which is used by our parish's 23 different public safety agencies. In the past, citizens and news media could listen to their radio scanners and learn what types of emergencies were happening in our parish and city. But with the new radio system, most of the scanners were not capable of allowing citizens to listen in on those emergency frequencies.

On April 4, 2002, the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 Communications District introcuded a new internet tool that allows our local redidents and web surfers across the world to view activities involving area public safety agencies. To provide the citizens of Caddo Parish with emergency information in a timely manner, the 9-1-1 Communications District has developed an Internet solution, working with all of the public safety agencies in the parish to provide this information. By using a new product from Oracle software, the 9-1-1 District is able to report, through the use of the Internet, current emergency events in real time as they happen.

The 9-1-1 Activity Link creates a window into a database that will provide location information on major wrecks, house fires, and emergency medical calls, and a brief description of each event. Tabbed screens will allow the viewer to select all agencies or focus on one specific agency. Citizens and the news media will be able to see at a glance what is happening around our parish with just a click of a button. In addition to presenting current active emergency events, Oracle's Portal product allows the 9-1-1 District to build reports, charts, forms, calendars and dynamic pages.

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For more information on the communications enhancements implemented by the Caddo Parish 9-1-1 District, please contact the Administrative Staff at 318-675-2222.




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