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New Upgrades On the Way: Birmingham City Councilors Approve More Technology Upgrades for Emergency Systems

Addressing emergency concerns in the City of Birmingham will soon become a little easier. That’s in part to new system upgrades that were recently approved by the Birmingham City Council. The Birmingham Fire and Rescue Department dispatch and emergency service is a vital part of response time when tragedies or emergencies occur and knowing this, Councilors have been adamant about supporting services and programs that will enhance the City’s public safety department. The new upgrades provided by ZOLL Data Systems, Inc., will include software updates, and annual maintenance and support services to the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Department for the City’s emergency dispatch operations and services. Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty says that she’s looking forward to the improvements that these upgrades will provide specifically as it relates to response time to emergencies.

“I believe these upgrades and technology advancements are long overdue,” Councilor Rafferty said. “Our citizens deserve the very best our city has to offer including how we respond during sensitive times especially in crisis.”

These upgrades come just months after the Council approved additional equipment support for the Birmingham Police Department. Over 300 body cameras were approved as a part of efforts to decrease the number of citizen’s complaints as well as reduce the potential use of force incidents. The five-year $889,000 contract with TASER International includes over 300 police body cameras and a companion digital management system.

So far, the police department has seen a 71% drop in citizen complaints — and a 38% drop in use of force by officers — since deploying 319 body cameras two months ago. These numbers further prove that the improvements in technology are having a positive impact on the community.

“While these statistics are good to see, it doesn’t mean that we can stop here,” Councilor Rafferty said. “We must continue to look at new options for improving the way that our public safety department address the concerns and issue of our constituents.

This article is a contribution from Chiara Perry (chiara.perry@birminghamal.gov) in the Birmingham City Council Public Information Office. For more information please contact 205.254.2294