Public safety is a commonly recognized indicator of the quality of life experienced by community residents. Ottumwa’s public safety entities, including law enforcement, fire protection, emergency medical services, and emergency management, are currently using outdated systems that do not allow for cross-agency communication.

“While the current system is working, it is not working well,” local public safety providers shared in a presentation to the Legacy Foundation Board of Directors. As a result, Ottumwa’s local public safety partners have worked collaboratively to find alternatives to their current platform that would allow all departments to access and share information, provide greater efficiency through reduced redundancy, and increase safety for our public safety providers.

To continue in our efforts to improve the quality of life in Ottumwa and Wapello County, we are excited to provide $200,000 in support for a new computer-aided dispatch and records system that will bring together our public safety service agencies. “The collaboration between Wapello County, City of Ottumwa, and The Legacy Foundation will forever change how public safety officers and First Responders operate, keeping the citizens of Wapello County safe,” said Wapello County Sherriff Don Phillips.

Chad Farrington, Chief of Police, is looking forward to the new chapter this system will open. “For the first time in the history of law enforcement in our community, there will be open and transparent sharing on internal information between the Ottumwa Police Department, Wapello County Sheriff Office, and public safety entities. This will increase the efficiency of public safety activities, while resulting in greater officer safety for our agencies.”

Local public safety entities have identified the CentralSquare computer-aided dispatch software platform as the best fit for Ottumwa and Wapello County. Phillips noted several components of the software system that will improve operations. “The ease of use, streamlined reporting and workflow, mobile map routing, and the shared database will prove to be essential in increasing response times and productivity. It will finally bring our public safety entities up to date with the technology that moves just as quick as our fast-paced world,” he said.

The project will require additional funding from other local partners. The City of Ottumwa and Wapello County Board of Supervisors will vote on providing financial support for the new system at upcoming meetings.