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Chicago suburb invests in new, cutting-edge emergency dispatch system

Berwyn introduces new, high-tech emergency dispatch system
Berwyn introduces new, high-tech emergency dispatch system 02:30

BERWYN, Ill. (CBS) – For police officers, firefighters, and the people they serve, seconds count, but it's not just up to first responders.

A fast response starts with the first call to 911.

That's why west suburban Berwyn is installing a new cutting-edge dispatch system, the first of its kind in Illinois.

It uses some of the similar tech that powers services people use every day, like Amazon and Spotify.

It won't be in full force until next summer, but CBS 2's Jim Williams got a demonstration.

CBS 2 got a look at Berwyn's new dispatch system.

Matt Polega co-founded Mark43 and created the system.

After taking a 911 call, the dispatcher enters the location, witness information, and the vehicles involved. They then use the system to send it to first responders.

It can also be sent to a smartphone.

"You may notice, I'm actually just in a web browser right now," Polega said. "We're completely cloud native."

That means the whole dispatch system can operate with just a laptop from anywhere with internet service. Since the system operates on the cloud, there will be fewer outages.

"If there's a disaster situation, if our service goes down here, we can still rely on them in the cloud," said Wayne Sedore, Berwyn's manager of emergency communications.

It's a fast system to use, Polega said, so dispatchers can get crews to emergencies quicker when seconds count.

"What the residents of Berwyn can experience from this change is, hopefully, a more available department," said Sedore.

Berwyn Fire Chief Thomas Hayes added, "The sooner we get there, the safer they will be."

And when the emergency is over, the system keeps learning by collecting data over time.

"We'll be able to take that information and allocate resources, such as police officers, ambulances, fire response," Hayes said.

Officials' goal is more stability, quicker response, and better understanding for Berwyn.

"We want to deliver the best services we can to our community," Hayes said.

Sedore added the change has been "a long time coming, a much-needed change for us."

Berwyn's new dispatch system should be up and running next summer. One of the biggest selling points is something the average person might not think about: paperwork.

It makes filing reports faster, meaning police officers and firefighters can get back on the streets quicker.

Berwyn's full Mark43 system costs $1.3 million over five years.

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