Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dunwoody CAD2CAD 911 Project hits another snag, City Manager sends letter to Interact Public Safety

Letter to Interact

Mr. John McNulty
President and Chief Executive Officer
Interact Public Safety
Global Headquarters
102 W 3rd St., Ste 750
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

RE: Dunwoody-DeKalb CAD-to-CAD Interface Project

Dear Mr. McNulty:

I am writing this letter in hopes that your assistance may improve an exceedingly frustrating and disappointing experience my community continues to have with a project we are working on with your firm.

As a matter of background, in October 2011 the City of Dunwoody transitioned 911 calltaking services from DeKalb County to the Chattahoochee River 911 Authority (ChatComm). ChatComm provides call-taking and police dispatch but DeKalb County continues to dispatch fire and emergency medical services.

Prior to the transition, we embarked on project to connect these two 911 centers through a CAD-to-CAD interface between OSSI Sungard (CAD provider for Dunwoody and ChatComm) and InterAct Public Safety (CAD provider for DeKalb County).

All major development on the interface was completed in early 2012. It is now March 2014 and we continue to face delay after delay in testing to complete this project. The testing phase of the project has been a disastrous set of failures.

The Mayor and City Council are furious that this process has taken several years and is still incomplete. My staff and I have run out of answers as to why this project has been ongoing for nearly three years.

The public pressure has mounted to get this project completed to levels I haven't seen in my 17 years in local government. Frankly, the reputation of the City, our service providers and the vendors responsible for completing the job has suffered mightily. Every missed expectation and additional "bug" in the interface that prevents the system from working properly is growing the discontent astronomically.

I am at the breaking point with my patience with the failure of this interface to work properly. Your immediate attention is critical to bring this matter to a successful conclusion. Sincerely,

Warren Hutmacher
City Manager

Memo to Council dated March 10, 2014

Update on CAD-to-CAD Interface

A center-to-center testing call at the end of February revealed four final challenges from the CAD system update that was completed in February. Following the testing call we launched an action plan to address each of the issues identified and are making steady progress.

One issue relates to fire response zone mapping and staging. As part of the CAD update, an outdated response zone map had been connected to the interface. Rather than staging units from the nearest Dunwoody station, for certain parts of the City, the system was suggesting dispatch from stations further out in the surrounding area. To correct this issue we had to review the code, locate the outdated response zone map, and replace it. The second relates to how incidents on Interstate 285 displayed once transferred to DeKalb. We determined that because these incidents are shared with cross streets (such as I-285 Eastbound / Ashford Dunwoody), the issue was that the"/" character was not transferring correctly. To address that issue, the developers are making additional code changes so the "/" character would be properly translated. The final two issues relate to the transference of certain determinant codes from ChatComm to DeKalb. This issue will be addressed by updating the translation table which connects the two systems. We are working with the developers to determine how long these final changes and updates will take.

All the key parties in the project are focused on the decisive steps for completion so we can surpass the industry standard for call transference.


In recent days, Council has requested clarification related to the development of the interface. First, regarding who is developing the interface and secondly related to the ability to outsource that development.

Unlike a traditional software project, the City has not hired a software vendor to write code and develop the interface. The interface code is developed by the two CAD vendors. One of which is under contract with DeKalb County and the other under contract with ChatComm. There is no technology vendor that is responsible to the City on this project.

Secondly, it has been suggested that a third party could connect these two disparate CAD systems and develop the interface in a manner that was more efficient. Early in the process the City explored this option. We found a third party software vendor that agreed to develop the interface but the two CAD vendors would not agree to the arrangement. Utilizing a third party developer would have allowed each CAD vendor's proprietary code to be held by a third party and they did not feel comfortable with any level of confidentiality agreements.

Both of these issues highlight the fact that had we been allowed to utilize a third party software vendor, we would have had a party beholden to us to complete the interface. As it is, we have little leverage over the two CAD system providers building the interface. We are forced to allow the two vendors to work together to build the interface using a software requirements document they jointly developed and to which they jointly agreed.

In short, we do not manage the technology or the development of the technology. Staff works diligently with both 911 centers and the CAD vendors to ensure resources are appropriately dedicated to the project and that time and attention is focused on the decisive
steps needed to reach completion.


Joe Hirsch said...

At the 5:50 portion of the video, city manager Warren Hutmacher tries to restrain citizen suggestions that someone should be held accountable for the 3 years of delay in implementing this 911 project that he overseas. Warren states, “Part of the frustration from the public, and certainly part of the frustration from our staff, is that we don’t have someone that we’ve hired that we can fire because they didn’t do a good job for us.” Um, someone please provide him with a mirror! All of City Council and our Mayor look pathetically week as they permit someone to be employed by our city who has a three year track record of horrible management. I think no one on Council has the guts to fire him because they are all afraid it will make themselves and the city look bad. Put your egos aside and take care of citizen safety.

Robespierre said...

"All of City Council and our Mayor look pathetically week..."

- Joe Hirsch

What's your point, Joe? Are you inferring that the City Council and the Mayor resemble a "week" because there are seven of them? Oh my, what a clever lad you you are! Oh this wasn't a pun? Well, then take my advice and brush up on your semantics before spewing your hate.

History has proven that being an effective outspoken responsible citizen requires a bit more in the way of intelligent and scholastic articulation than just being a sad angry little man with an axe to grind.

Joe Hirsch said...

^thank you so much for correcting my spelling. You got me good! You are wonderful.

Chip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TwoDogsTrucking said...

An agreement between the two CADs where Interact took the lead developing the interface but they were not provided OSSI code and we expected it to work? A strongly worded letter to Interact (4yrs to late); really? Let's hope they don't view it as slander. This whole fisaco makes no sense or is it cents? In 2010 the city could of worked with the county to get the features they wanted added to the CAD at minimal cost. Now 3 years later and a million or two dollars later the city states they are shocked to learn the computer code of rival companies will not interface seamlessly. Where's the strongly worded letter to OSSI? Dunwoody Yes never mentioned 911 and after a million or two and years of implementation delays (not to mention the delay in dispatching medical calls); I'm really wondering why we are so wedded to OSSI/Chattcom ??

Chip said...

Curiously, Robespierre, I believe Joe's semantics were very clear. I do fault his orthography, however, as he mixed his homophones.

Oh, and by the way, the adjective "scholastic" is more pejorative than adulatory. Perhaps you meant "scholarly"? That might be, in some circles, a semantic error.

For the record, I'm just chiming in because of poor usage and poor literary criticism......

Dang it! I misspelled a word, too! (Corrected, above)

dpgroupie said...

EMS response time is still below the national benchmark. Missed that comment from Terry Nall? Take the blinders off, put your grudge aside, and accept that fact.

Chip said...


You misquoted Terry Nall....

What Terry said was that Ms. McQuaig's response time (in spite of all the issues--ed.) was below the national benchmark. His comment was applied to only this one, particular example.

And, this example is perhaps not the best to try to extrapolate overall performance from...

BTW, Ms. McQuaig lives within a couple of blocks of the fire station. Their "response" time was less than 1 minute; very atypical for the average transit time.

Take off the rose-colored glasses, and recognize that we have a problem of our own making, here. The timeline shows that WITH Chatcomm the response time was over a minute LONGER than if Ms. McQuaig could have reached DeKalb 911 on her own. If CAD-CAD had been in place, the response time would have been less. So we get slower response times because CAD-CAD doesn't work. Simple fact. No one, even Mr. Hutmacher, disputes that. (You can listen for yourself during the Feb. 24th video/audio of the City Council meeting.)

Robespierre said...

Watched the latest city council videos. I think it's clear - it's about time we admitted it - Republicans, whether right-wing or middle of the road, suck at governance, especially when they attempt to privatize typically government functions.

They either figure it's private enterprise, so they don't have to monitor performance/progress and not establish quality SLA's as it is PRIVATE ENTERPRISE and that is the basis of their libertarian / capitalistic manifesto, or don't care how the contractors perform as they have already lined their pocket with the kickback.

The upper-middle class white utopia called "The City of Dunwoody" has failed and if we continue with it we will be like 1930's Germany and the dissatisfaction of the citizens will only allow the fascist element in - the Save Dunwoody thugs (they are even attempting to take seats in the legislature from the other moderates).

Let's swallow our pride, wave the white flag, and ask DeKalb County to take us back, where at least the process worked and people weren't dying to get an ambulance.

One last comment, as there are so many ass-hats in the city that make vitriolic public comments that include personal attacks, remove the Boy Scouts during that segment of the meeting.

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, oh blue sky and sunshine...just a wiccan tantric to make this nightmare go away.

Max said...

As to returning to DeKalb County governance:

"No thank you, please...It only makes me sneeze and then I cannot find the door." - Ringo Starr

As to Save Dunwoody, "Now that's funny - I don't care who you are." - "Larry the Cable guy" - Ron White

Chip said...


Oops! You slipped up there, buckaroo!
Larry the Cable Guy is not "Ron White" although they often appear together. Larry is "Dan Whitney"

Close, but no ci-gar!

John Heneghan said...

Interact reply by John McNulty.

Anonymous said...

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