Roswell 911 Dispatch Center Remains Resilient During Emergencies with Fast Pop-Up Network
Success Story Highlights
Challenge — When a natural or man-made emergency happens, 911 centers can become overwhelmed. If power, water, or other resources go down, it means dispatch centers must physically move. During these emergencies, nearby dispatch centers may be experiencing the same event and will not have space or equipment to accommodate more staff.
The City of Roswell in Georgia needed to ensure that its dispatch center, Roswell 911 Emergency Communications Center, could remain fully functioning so that calls are answered and response times don’t lag when evacuation of the center is necessary.
Solution — By deploying Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Solution for Branch, Roswell 911 can pop-up a network and stage a new center if the primary center should need to be evacuated. The service includes routing, WAN link termination and traffic management, a firewall, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting — delivered via a dual-modem AER Series router with embedded LTE, 24x7 support, and a limited lifetime warranty.
Benefits — Cradlepoint’s solution enables the department to utilize the City’s VPN for files, the CAD system, 911 enabled laptops, WiFi, and VoIP phones all via the POE ports on the Cradlepoint. The City of Roswell aims to provide the best quality of service to its community, and with Cradlepoint’s solutions for backup, the agency can continue to answer calls with fast responses.
Roswell 911 provides dispatch and E911 services for the City of Roswell. The center is staffed with civilian personnel working together as 911 call-takers, law enforcement and fire/EMS dispatchers, trainers, supervisors, administrators, managers, and systems staff – all relying on a functional operations center to complete their jobs.
The City’s main objective is to ensure the 911 center remains operating and connected, no matter what.
No Connectivity During Relocation — The City needed to develop a continuity plan to ensure the rapid resumption of essential functions—including network connectivity—if an emergency should occur. Putting a plan in place prepares Roswell 911 and its personnel for the possibility of relocating and being operational as soon as possible.
“We have had centers knocked out when hurricanes season hits, and that’s just the reality. When storms come through that take down our power and generators, we need to be sure that something is in place to keep the 911 lines available,” said John Potrzebowski, 911 deputy communications director for the City of Roswell, Georgia Police Department.
To ensure the center remains functioning, the City of Roswell decided to deploy Cradlepoint NetCloud Service for Branch, which includes extensive cloud software and purpose-built routers.
“Ninety-nine percent of what we have in the main center we can recreate with the Cradlepoint,” Potrzebowski said.
Simple, Day-1 Deployment
Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service allows Roswell 911 to pop-up a network anywhere and quickly.
“In the event that we must evacuate, going and setting up at another dispatch center to continue operations is not the most feasible option. What this solution allows us to do and what gives me peace of mind is that we can set up wherever we want, whether it’s at city hall or a fire station,” Potrzebowski said.
With Cradlepoint’s dual-modem solution, Roswell can connect two carriers simultaneously, ensuring that it will get an always available redundant network when the Cradlepoint is turned on. Different carriers have high-performance networking in different locations, access to dual carriers allows Roswell 911 to feel assured that if one of the networks drops, it will be covered by the carrier that’s still available.
It doesn’t matter what kind of emergency the City of Roswell is facing, if someone calls 911, they expect someone to answer,” Potrzebowski said. “It’s our service to the community to make sure we’re available, and Cradlepoint helps us do that.”
Extended Operations at Temporary Sites
Roswell 911 can set up a pop-up network with the Cradlepoint solution and function off it as long as necessary, so no calls go unanswered.
“The main 911 center could be evacuated for days, but with the Cradlepoint solution we have a backup plan that will last as long as we need it to,” Potrzebowski said.
VPN Accessibility to Reach Secured Files
With the Cradlepoint solution, Roswell 911 can VPN into the main City network as well as back to dispatch headquarters. When it connects its laptops to the Cradlepoint, it has access to all the City files, to the CAD network, and to the City share drive – from any location the 911 center may be set up.
“Wherever we are, with the Cradlepoint we can pull up the CAD system and start dispatch operations,” Potrzebowski said.
Tip Line & Mobile Call Centers
The Cradlepoint solution also allows Roswell 911 to use back up phone systems that can be set up on one phone number that citizens can call and use as an emergency call number. Additionally, Roswell 911 can plug the IP phone system into one of the Cradlepoint’s POE ports and have four or more IP phones available. The tip line system is also able to VPN into the City network automatically for regular functioning of the site.
Mobile Wireless Connectivity for 911 Laptops
Roswell 911 also has four 911 laptops that connect into its 911 phone system that can answer actual calls.
“The laptops give us caller information and text-to- 911 — all it needs is network connectivity from the Cradlepoint,” Potrzebowski said.
Redundancy for Resilient Lines of Communication
Dispatch and first responders work hand in hand in the way they serve the public. Dispatch needs to be efficient and fast to get the emergency information to responders in the field, and because dispatch is often the first step in getting help to an emergency, it can’t risk being unavailable.
“Redundancy is really important to us; people expect us to be available no matter what. Cradlepoint helped us create a solid continuity plan to keep responding to calls – upholding service to first responders and citizens,” Potrzebowski said.
Scaling for the Future
Roswell 911 plans to scale its network to 5G as it becomes available and can achieve this through Cradlepoint services in a variety of ways.