Police need upgraded dispatch system in Surfside Beach

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Surfside Beach Police Department told Town Council there could be significant security concerns if they continue to operate without an updated Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.

The current system has been in place since 2004 and the upgraded system would cost around $24,000.

“It’s antiquated,” said Surfside Police Lieutenant, Kenneth Hofmann. “The new system that we’re looking at from the same vendor has a lot of new features and capabilities that the old system doesn’t have that will help us to better direct resources to our calls for service.”

Hofmann said the department, like others, sees an increase in calls every year which causes more demand on the department’s communications officer.

“There’s so much going on,” said Hofmann.  “We need to be up to date technologically.”

One of the main features of a new CAD system would allow the officers to provide better service to the elderly or people with special needs.

“If there is a person at that address who is autistic, that can be put into the new CAD. So that if there’s a call for service there, the officers can be properly notified that they may need to respond in a specific way to be able to provide the best service to the residence,” added Hofmann.

Another feature would let officers know if they’re responding to an area with a history of violence.

“If we have an address in town where there may be have been a history of officer assault, or something along those lines, the dispatcher can notify the officers,” said Hofmann.

Another feature that could be added is the ability to track officers using GPS to see which officer is closest to the location of a call.

“That’s what makes sense,” said Hofmann. “Being able to get the closest officer to that call for service.”

The department presented this information at the Surfside Beach Vision Meeting and said this system is required for the department to be accredited.

“Our current CAD system will not help us meet accreditation requirements,” added Hofmann. He also made it clear that there’s nothing wrong with the current system but the upgraded system would offer many more features.

“We want to be able to provide the best service possible and get our officers to calls for service as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Hofmann.