Company responsible for faulty 911 upgrade had trouble in the past

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jun 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-13 23:01:34-04

Westbury, NEW YORK (PIX11) — There are 225 dispatchers and call takers on staff at the  Nassau County 9-1-1 Operation Center, versus the 1500 in New York City.

The differences between the the two 911 operation centers are many, but there is one very important similarity.  Both had their systems upgraded by Alabama based Intergraph.

The death of four-year-old Ariel Russo increased criticism of the Intergraph 911 operating system — known as ICAD — in New York City.  While Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano insisted human error led to the delay in ambulance response time that day, union officials countered and said it was instead due to computer glitches with ICAD.

It turns out, Intergraph has left a trail of issues in other cities, such as San Jose, California and even in Nassau County, where the ICAD system went into place in 2007.  By numerous accounts, the transition was not smooth and did come with criticism.

“With any new computer system put in place, there  were some issues. There were some learning curve issues with the call takers and the dispatchers that we had to navigate through,” said Deputy Chief of Support for the Nassau County Police Department, Edmond Horace.

However, union officials in Nassau County believe it was more than that.

Their complaints at the time were very similar to what is now being reported among the City’s dispatchers and that in some cases the system crashed and data was occasionally lost.

“I really can’t comment about what happened in New York City but I do know that when you roll a system out you do experience some issues and you do get past them,” said Horace.

When there were issues, Deputy Chief Horace said call takers would resort back to the old method of writing calls down and walk messages over to dispatchers.  Now with a full time Information Technology staff , as well as a part time support team supplied by Intergraph, Horace said complications have been minimal.

PIX11 learned Intergraph is also expected to update Boston’s 911 operating system in the fall.  We reached out to the company for comment, however, we did not hear back.