Call Recording Comes to Rural Minnesota

Multimedia solution deployed across 19 counties

In a bid to improve call logging while controlling costs, the Central Minnesota Emergency Services Board (CMESB) will be sharing Verint Systems’ Audiolog for Public Safety call-recording platform among its first responder member agencies. The agencies cover 19 central Minnesota counties and the city of St. Cloud; the latter is the largest community (population 66,196) in this mainly rural area.

By installing Audiolog for Public Safety, “We will be able to evaluate captured interactions by using a wide choice of criteria,” says Micah Myers, chair of the board’s regional advisory committee. These criteria include “date and time to caller ID, call-taker name and radio ID, among others.”

Historically, rural first responder agencies have a difficult time serving sparsely populated areas on their own, due to low levels of available tax revenues. This is why many are now banding together into groups like CMESB: to achieve economies of scale when it comes to acquiring and managing sophisticated communications systems.

Audiolog for Public Safety is a software-based system that can capture, record and serve out all kinds of digital multimedia sent to public safety answering points (PSAPs). This includes audio, video, text, digital photos, telematics and maps. The data can be accessed using a Web browser for playback at any of CMESB’s dispatch centers.

The Audiolog system is configured to provide password-protected security. As well, the system allows a PSAP to only access calls, messages and other forms of communications specific to itself. The content of other CMESB members is off-limits unless the agency that owns it makes it available.

“The move to this new system allows these agencies to move away from locally based analog recorders,” says Bill Pryor, Verint’s director of public safety. “It also provides them with a system that works with their shared Motorola Astro 7.9 digital LMR [land mobile radio] infrastructure.”

The Audiolog system will connect CMESB’s Motorola network to two redundant trunked recorders. To provide an extra level of protection, each will be in a different physical location.

The ability to store and access such a wide range of records will provide many benefits to CMESB. First, enhanced call recording will mean better after-event analysis and the ability for CMESB managers to change dispatch procedures as required. Second, any legal issues pertaining to call centers’ performance can be more swiftly dealt with thanks to the improved access it provides. Third, CMESB managers will be able to use call recordings to monitor the quality of their call-takers’ and dispatchers’ performance on an ongoing basis. This will result in better management of staff, the opportunity to improve training procedures, better call-taker/dispatcher performance and more lives saved.                             

The Central Minnesota Emergency Services Board chose Audiolog for all of these reasons. In addition, “We selected the Verint solution because it’s simple to deploy and use,” says Myers. “Another key selection factor was its superior security and reliability, which are crucial to effectively serving the communities and residents in our region, and its ability to support our first responder agencies during both emergency and nonemergency situations.”

Small first responder agencies such as those served by CMESB are often strapped for cash. When it comes to cutting-edge technological solutions, they typically do not have access to the same amount of funds as urban agencies do. As a result, small agencies often are forced to operate at lower levels of capability.

CMESB was formed as a response to these issues. It is why its members share the same Motorola Astro radio system, and why they have adopted Audiolog as well. “By banding together, these first responders are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively compared to what they would have paid to install individual digital recorders on their own,” Pryor says. “Yet they will all experience the same level of performance at this lower cost.”

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