New dispatch system replaces aging mainframe, allows field access

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene and Springfield's police and fire departments worked with a new dispatch system over the past month, and many officials say it helps send crucial information in emergency situations.

The SunGuard system makeover went online mid-December, replacing an old data mainframe system put in place in the late 1960's.

Eugene Police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said the departments purchased the "Records Management System-Computer Aided Dispatch" from SunGuard for $1.25 million after the the Pensilvania-based company offered a $2.38 million discount.

The police departments and metro fire agency said the new dispatch and public safety records system will lead to faster and safer responses.

Eugene Police Officer David Clark said that GPS tracking allows dispatchers to track incidents as they unfold.

"Instead of sending the next available officer, they'll be able to look at their system and say instantly, 'these are the two closest officers'," said Clark.

Clark said the system allows officers to call up suspect information on laptops while in the field, rather than having dispatch workers relay the information on a per-case basis.