Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos launch joint dispatch system | News | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos launch joint dispatch system

New technology allows police to communicate across city lines

After two years of planning, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos police departments last week officially rolled out a joint dispatch system, a virtual consolidation that allows all three cities to immediately share information, dispatch calls and communicate with first responders across city boundaries.

A Los Altos Police Department press release calls the upgrade "the most significant public safety information technology project that the three cities have undertaken in the past decade."

The project was first proposed in 2011, then approved by all three cities in 2012.

The $3-million cost is being split "proportionately" among the cities.

Previously, each city's police department used an independent computer aided dispatch (CAD) system. The new, consolidated Integraph system "increases efficiency, reduces response times, and improves the use of resources during mutual aid incidents or emergencies that cross jurisdictional boundaries," the press release reads.

Police said the system is "functioning as expected" and Integraph staff are staying on site during the initial rollout period to help with any issues that might arise.

The new system will allow the three communications centers to function in a coordinated manner. The Palo Alto Communications Center is the 9-1-1 public-safety answering point for both the City of Palo Alto and Stanford University. and dispatches for the Palo Alto Police and Fire departments, the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, Palo Alto Utilities, Palo Alto Public Works, Palo Alto Animal Services and park rangers with Palo Alto Open Space.

The Mountain View Emergency Communications Center takes 9-1-1 calls from for the City of Mountain View and provides dispatching services for the Mountain View Police and Fire departments and Mid-Peninsula Open Space District. It also provides after-hour communications for the city's Public Works Department.

The Los Altos Communications Center is the dispatch system for the City of Los Altos. It also provides after-hour communications for the city's Public Works Department.

Questions about the new system can be directed to Elizabeth Vargas, Los Altos Police services manager, at 650-947-2770.

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Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

According to the article, the system helps to coordinate department communications and resources during joint mutual aid situations, but what about the rest of the time? Can the call routing for any one of the City's emergency response operators be transferred to another city's call center? Does the functionality exist to allow, for instance, to consolidate the calls into a single call center, so that one, or more, of the existing centers can be shut down?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

It makes sense for all this sort of cooperation between the 3 cities - and probably more cities too. We need to cut the expenses of admin and technical equipment by sharing as much as possible. We don't need 3 police chiefs either or too many other top jobs - too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

Let's get streamlining our police departments more.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Maybe it's time to merge both the Palo Alto Fire and Mt. View Fire Departments. Close some stations and less management. Other cities have done this with great results.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

> Maybe it's time to merge both the Palo Alto Fire and Mt. View Fire Departments.

Combining or sharing some fire operations, training and management seems to make sense. I'd guess they're waiting to see what will happen with PAFD's (now up for renewal) contract with Stanford before deciding what the next steps will be.

As an outsider, the new Intergraph system is a step backward. The link between PAFD's CAD and sites like (Web Link) has been broken since the upgrade on March 18th. The public police logs for Los Altos and Mountain View are also missing a lot of details that were included with the old logs. I surprised that nobody at the Weekly cares.

Like this comment
Posted by Question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Is the direct Palo Alto Police Emergency line still the same? (The non-911 line?)

Like this comment
Posted by LosAltosHills
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 24, 2014 at 2:32 pm

So ... I wonder how LAH fits into all this? We often get shunted from one jurisdiction to the next. In addition to the three cities discussed here, there's also Santa Clara county and CHP. Depending on precisely where you are, it could be a different jurisdiction and personally I've had the experience more than once of going in a circle as everyone points the finger at someone else. Awkward, it is.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

The PAPD non-emergency (650)-329-2413 number worked on Saturday. Not sure which agency answered, but they handled the call.

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