UPDATE: City puts emergency dispatches online

Monday, September 15, 2008 | 12:26 p.m. CDT; updated 3:58 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 15, 2008

COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia now posts emergency dispatches on its Web site in real time, allowing site visitors to look at dispatch information that just weeks ago was a challenge for the public to obtain.

The site provides the date, time, responding agencies and units along with the address and the nature of each call. Information for the Web site comes directly from the Boone County/Columbia Public Safety Joint Communications computer system.

Data is available for all of Boone County and dates back to the beginning of 2005.

Boone County and Columbia Public Safety Joint Communications Director Jim McNabb said the idea to create such a site came up a couple of years ago. But "it took about ten minutes" to put the site together, since the data is already computerized within Joint Communications.

Captain Eric Hartman at the Columbia Fire Department said the new feature makes "operations more open and accessible to the public." It also helps people find out what's going on nearby.

"People can take a look at the Web site and find out what's going on in their neighborhood," Hartman said.

The list of emergency fire and rescue dispatches is searchable by date and responding agency. Residents can filter their search by fire service agencies: Columbia Fire Department, Boone County Fire Protection District and Southern Boone County Fire Protection District. University Hospital, Boone Hospital, Capital Region and Audrain Medical Center Ambulance Services are also included.

There are currently no plans to expand the fire and rescue feature, but McNabb said Joint Communications is considering a similar site for law enforcement.

"We would like to do it for law enforcement, but it's more sensitive," McNabb said.


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