On Aug. 8, 2011, Dunwoody’s city manager reported there would be a slight hitch in the city’s effort to move its police dispatching from DeKalb County’s 911 system to the separate system called ChatComm.
The problem was a computer program called CAD-to-CAD. The county dispatch system was having trouble matching its program to the one used by the Chattahoochee 911 Authority, or ChatComm.
“They’re going to get to this, but it’s not going to be until the first of next year,” then Dunwoody City Manager Warren Hutmacher said at the time.
The city switched to ChatComm anyway. Now, four years and hundreds of arguments and disappointing test reports later, the CAD-to-CAD problem finally may be solved, city officials said recently.
On July 6, during a conference call among representatives of the city of Dunwoody, DeKalb County 911 and ChatComm 911, all agreed that the CAD-to-CAD system could at long last “go live” on Aug. 10.
That’s assuming all goes well with a live test of the CAD-to-CAD Interface, Chief Billy Grogan said in a memo to City Council before its July 27 meeting. “At this time, there are no known issues with the Interface or the outlined timeline that would cause a delay in the expected go live date,” Grogan wrote.
The city of Dunwoody contracted with ChatComm in 2011 to provide 911 call taking and dispatch services. As an enhancement to that service, the city engaged in a CAD-to-CAD Interface project to provide for the electronic transfer of fire department and emergency medical services data from ChatComm 911 to DeKalb County 911.
By November 2013, Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis had agreed to meet with ChatComm leaders to try to work out a solution to the continuing delays in installing a CAD-to-CAD system to more quickly handle Dunwoody’s fire and emergency medical calls, which had been routed to DeKalb dispatchers.
Delays continued, attributed to technical issues such as the possibility of losing a caller in the transfer process. During the Jan. 27, 2014, City Council meeting, members asked for a report on the handling of a Jan. 8, 2014, emergency call made by a 79-year-old woman who said she waited five minutes to be connected to an emergency medical and fire services dispatcher.
Though council members agreed to continue the contract as a subscriber when ChatComm reduced its price, Councilman Jim Riticher said in August 2014 that problems over the CAD-to-CAD system had convinced him to oppose renewing the city’s agreement with ChatComm.
But the lack of an alternative dispatch service, other than returning to DeKalb County dispatch, convinced council members to continue with ChatComm.
“There’s nowhere else to go,” Davis said in August 2014. “It’s a good deal. We’ve got to take it.”