The needler in the haystack.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jawdropper at gunshot-detection technology hearing


During last Thursday's Plainfield Planning Board presentation on the proposed gunshot-detection technology, a jaw-dropping statement was made concerning response times.

Councilor Storch was closely quizzing Director Hellwig about the percentage of gunshot incidents responded to currently and response times, as compared to the proposed technology.

The statement was made that the Police Division currently responds to 25% of gunshot incidents, but would be responding to 100% with the new technology. (Left unexplained was whether the 25% current number represented an ESTIMATE of the total number of incidents, or whether there is only a 25% response to  KNOWN incidents -- an important distinction that should be clarified by someone.)

But the jawdropper came when Storch was quizzing about response times and Capt. Steve Soltys offered an example of a call coming in about gunshots on West 8th Street but the Police Division's response being delayed because the Spanish-speaking caller spoke no English and 'the language line' had to be deployed (presumably a live, interactive phone translation service), which added to the response time.

Does this mean that Plainfield's 911 team has shifts on which there are no Spanish-speaking operators at all?

That is not a good situation for the public's safety.

Something more the Council needs to look into?




-- Dan Damon [follow]

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would think that most, if not all the shifts were not covered by bi-lingual 911 operators. But ya know what? - If you want to live in this country - at least learn the basics of the language.

I met a SPanish Police Officer in Plainfield and he quite frankly told me that he is tired of having to go to other officer's calls to translate. I think his exact words were "If they want me to be a translator, they should pay me more".

So if a Spanish speaking police officers does not want to help his own, why should my tax dollars pay for additional services for translation servcices.

What does this translator service cost taxpayers and how often is it used. Seems to be that it could be a costly service but in the long run, less expensive than hiring spanish speaking dispatchers to be working 24/7.

Anonymous said...

I think you only mentioned "Storch quizzing" twice. Would have preferred if you had mentioend "Storch quizzing" six or eight time.

I am sure you could have fit it in somehow.

Anonymous said...

It shows why having one language in a country, say English, makes even the inner workings of the police department and the city government run more smoothly! If you haven't been to municipal court recently, they cannot operate without an interpreter! Of course it has always been so in Plainfield, didn't we have interpreters for the Italians and the Irish?

Anonymous said...

No matter the exact meaning of "25%", Hellwig implies that police responses to gunshot incidents would increase 400%, which may or may not include false positives like firecrackers.

While the definition of "response" may vary from one cop or two, detectives, or crime scene team, the costs invariably go up. What will it cost to increase responses by 400% and if no more money is available what police services will be cut to allow for the increased response burden? Or are we hoping that the savings will trickle down when gun violence is reduced. That's a nice thought, but is it real?

Anonymous said...

All 911 calls are "supposed" to be responded to. even hang ups. only cell phones that are not GPS tracable can't be investigated.
and the 911 system has a language assist capability (that we probable are'nt paying for). We are not the only City that has diversity. Other Cities have much more than us. Don't think they have German or Chinese speaking dispatchers.
Why aren't they tellng everyone this? Is distrbing. rather spend money that we dont have for already proven failed technology.

Anonymous said...

"Of course it has always been so in Plainfield, didn't we have interpreters for the Italians and the Irish?"

The Irish speak English. Genius.