The Importance of QA in Public Safety Centers

One of the most difficult yet critical duties of modern PSAPs is the management of post-incident data. The form this data may take varies more than ever before in the post-internet age: phone calls, GPS information, texts, social media, video files…all this and more may be necessary for already-overworked dispatchers to collate and store. Even in smaller centers the advent of Next-Gen 911 technology (such as RapidSOS) has made the process of reconstructing an incident increasingly complicated for centers with outdated tech. As Mark Cranmore wrote in a 2018 issue of Public Safety Communications magazine, “It’s a matter of when, not if, dispatchers will need to define where this information comes from, how it’s received and who will use it.” Three years later this has proven to be a prescient statement.

At Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) we have been focused on the inevitable transition to NG911 – and all the accompanying complications – since the beginning. We are proud partners of NICE Recording, a company who is similarly committed to improving the quality and consistency of all Emergency Communication Centers. It is not widely-known, but modern recorders have some of the best Quality Assurance features in the industry, making internal audits of dispatchers and processes easier than ever before – even with the added challenges of NG911.

Garth Wireman, the Deputy Director and former Quality Assurance/Training Program Director for the Greenup County 911 Center is an experienced NICE user, and he said this in an interview about PSAP Quality Assurance: “I started out with a pencil and paper reviewing calls, and through working with Applied Digital (Solutions) – our local vendor – working with them to convert those paper Quality Assurance reviews over to NICE, it was excellent. We were able to move it all over to NICE Inform and computerized it, and now the [time spent] processing reviews is cut in half.” Quality Assurance can be as laborious as it is necessary for keeping up with advances in 911, but utilizing a recorder’s built-in features is an optimal choice to improve vital efficiency without added stress. Mr. Wireman went on: “The customer service we have with Applied Digital, with NICE; it’s excellent, it’s unmatched. We’re very happy with the product.” While Greenup County’s center covers multiple agencies, the NICE product Garth is referring to in this interview can be applicable to PSAPs of varying sizes.

The ever-developing nature of NG911 can seem overwhelming, but, with the right resources in place, technology can serve to make emergency communications easier and better. Mark Cranmore summarized this nicely, writing: “Given the rapid pace of technology and how quickly things change, dispatch centers can learn to embrace these new technologies and tools by changing their perspective on how to approach the challenges.” Recorders may not be the most intuitive source of improved Quality Assurance, but at ADS we think they are the strongest.