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Approve Purchase and Replacement of Voice Logger System in Police Dispatch
Staff recommend appropriating $62,000 from the City's General Fund Operating Budget for FY 2022-23 to purchase a replacement voice logger system for Police Dispatch; and enter into a purchase order with Capture Technologies, Inc. for the purchase and replacement of the voice logger system.
A Voice Logging Recorder is a system of software and hardware installed in 9-1-1 dispatch centers that records and archives incoming and outgoing phone calls that come into the centers' lines. The system also records and archives all radio traffic between police and fire field personnel, dispatchers, surrounding agencies, and Public Works. Recording these communications is key to incident re-creation, and can be used for improving employee performance. Recordings capture details of critical incidents such as officer-involved shootings and police pursuits, and capture interactions between employees and the public. Recordings are routinely used as evidence in the prosecution of crimes, and in proving and disproving allegations of police employee misconduct.
There are legal requirements regarding these recording. California Penal Code Section 13730, for example, requires each law enforcement agency to have a system to record domestic violence-related calls for assistance to the Police Department. Using a system like this ensures adherence to this legal statute. Preservation of audio recordings is also essential to fulfill requirements of the California Public Records Act (PRA) and evidence disclosure laws under
The current voice logging recorder system was purchased and installed in 2012. The life expectancy of this system was five to seven years. In 2018, using funding from the State, and in conjunction with the replacement of the 9-1-1 call handling equipment, new hardware was installed to the Police Department’s voice logging recorder system. This allowed the current system to exceed its life expectancy.
The current system has reached a point where it needs to be replaced urgently. The current hardware and software are no longer supported by the manufacturer, meaning new parts are unavailable and can no longer be repaired. Any technical support will stop in early 2023. The system continues to suffer failures that have resulted in lost recordings. In 2021, for example, the system suffered 13 hardware failures requiring replacement parts. Although these failures were covered under warranty, they resulted in lost recordings from the radio and phone systems.
This trend has continued. Failures have increased, resulting in lost recordings. This is expected to continue and worsen as the system continues to age. The system seems to be on the verge of complete irreparable failure. If the system were to fail, it would not be able to be repaired (as replacement parts and software support will no longer be available). Audio may not be recorded and would not be archived. Audio recordings requested pursuant to a PRA, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or
discovery request would require a manual search of recordings. This would be a manpower-intensive process that might not result in any recordings being located.
Looking to the future, Next Generation 9-1-1 is set to be deployed throughout California by the end of 2023. The current standards and network infrastructure designed and deployed for the statewide delivery of 9-1-1 calls require an audio logging system to record Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based 9-1-1 call traffic, including voice, text, video, and media elements. The existing system does not support Next Generation 9-1-1.
The Police Department obtained three quotes to replace the voice logger system. A company called Capture Technologies, Inc. maintains the current system, and provided the lowest quote at $58,266.98. A copy of the quote is attached for reference. The quote includes all hardware and software, shipping installation, training, and a 36-month warranty with 24-hours per day service. It is worth noting that the other two quotes were higher than this and did not include warranties or a maintenance/service plan.
The Police Department currently budgets $5,800 per year for maintenance of this existing system. The funding is budgeted in the General Fund and would no longer need to be budgeted in the next three fiscal years since the new system is under warranty. This represents a three-year offset of $17,400 for future fiscal years.
For the current fiscal year, the Police Department recommends appropriating $62,000 from the City's General Fund Operating Budget for FY 2022-23 to fund the immediate replacement of this system. The amount includes a small contingency to cover any unforeseen costs. There is sufficient fund balance in the General Fund for this request.
William Gallardo, City Manager
Prepared by: Tina Meyer, Dispatch Supervisor
Concurrence: Adam Hawley, Chief of Police
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