BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Bedford Heights police dispatchers can now livestream with people calling 911.
Sergeant Robert Majer said the department is among the first in the nation to use Prepared Live software, created by a Cleveland native. The software allows dispatchers to have eyes on the scene with an immediate view of the caller’s situation as it unfolds.
“Provides 911 operators and first responders with access to live video, photos, GPS location,” said Sgt. Majer. “In this line of work, the quicker you can get to a call, the better chance you have of apprehending a suspect, maybe saving a life, so if we know somebody’s exact location, that helps us get there faster.”
Emergency dispatchers send the person calling 911 a link via text message. If the caller agrees to click the link, dispatchers can see the emergency for themselves through the caller’s camera phone.
“It makes it 100% easier because we actually can have a visual instead of guessing in our mind where you are located at and what it’s looking like on the scene,” said Lindsay Dunn, a dispatcher with the department.
The software recently launched at the department free of charge, according to the sergeant. First responders said its already making an impact from fire emergencies to car accidents and everything in between.
“For instance, say an active shooter. If we can see what we’re going into prior to making entry, it’s going to help us out greatly,” said Sergeant Majer. “We can come up with a better tactical approach.”
Police said the software can help with domestic violence calls, welfare checks and car crashes, among other urgent emergencies. In situations where a caller’s safety needs to be protected, the software can darken a caller’s cell phone screen to appear like the phone is off.
“It gives our dispatchers eyes on the scene,” said the sergeant. “Enables them to communicate better with callers. We also feel like it’s going to be able to better prepare our officers for what they are going into.”
Prepared Live, police said, provides a unique view of the community while allowing first responders to better understand each call when there’s no time to spare.