Brown County decides to pull plug on error-filled dispatch system

    Green Bay police officers monitor activity from Brown County's dispatch system, Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo credit: WLUK)

    BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WLUK) -- Brown County is pulling the plug on its new, error-filled, 911 dispatch system after just eight weeks.

    The change is big news for law enforcement officers who’ve said the system puts them and the public in danger.

    The $1.2 million system, from Securus Technologies, launched on Dec. 12.

    “We had a number of major issues that we experienced after go-live that we didn't experience in testing,” Brown County Public Safety Communications Director Cullen Peltier said to the county’s Public Safety Committee Wednesday evening.

    FOX 11 saw one of the system’s issues last month when it reported officers being located in Africa instead of somewhere on the streets of Green Bay.

    Other issues included the inability to identify stolen cars and wanted criminals, officers being sent to wrong locations, and delayed response times. The issues often led to officers spending twice as much time on routine traffic stops.

    “What would happen is we would frequently get the dispatcher saying the notes just disappeared, they're gone, they're not on my screen, you need to stand by,” said Jim Dagneau, the president of the union for Brown County’s sheriff’s deputies. “It could be pertinent information to what you're dealing with.”

    The county spent weeks trying to fix the issues. While there was some progress, Peltier says it wasn't happening fast enough.

    “It just isn't fair to the officers or my staff right now to continue to ask them to work through this as we're trying to do it,” said Peltier.

    The county will now work with all local agencies to move back to the old dispatch system.

    The county has said it had to find a new system because the old one wasn't going to be serviced anymore.

    “They weren't trying to force a system upon us,” said Dagneau. “They just wanted to make it work so we could have officers feeling safe, doing their regular duties and being able to provide the service that we really want to provide to the communities.”

    A meeting is being held Thursday with all local agencies to determine a timeline for rolling back to the old dispatch system.

    The county plans to explore all options moving forward. The county says it is evaluating its contract with Securus, the company that services the new dispatch system.

    Meanwhile, the county has received assurance the old dispatch system will be usable until at least August of next year.

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